Proposed Stillwater fire station in spotlight

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 29, 2012 - 9:44 PM

City seeks comment this week on the project, which would go up west of the old hall.

A proposal for a new, updated Stillwater fire station that would share quarters with a new Minnesota National Guard armory will be reviewed at an open house Wednesday.

The partnership calls for city firetrucks to share a new armory complex on city land on Stillwater's west side. Stillwater would pay about $7.9 million to build the fire station, with road improvements costing extra. The Guard estimates it would pay about $17.5 million for its portion of the complex, said Bill Turnblad, the city's community development director.

The fire station proposal has upset some residents who have questioned the need, and because property taxes would be increased to pay for it.

But city leaders argue that overall fire response times have worsened as the city has grown to the west. The current fire department is housed at City Hall, two blocks from downtown, in an area no longer considered central to Stillwater neighborhoods.

Response times for fire departments nationally average five minutes, but Stillwater's often exceed nine minutes because the trucks have to travel farther to some neighborhoods, the city has said.

Firefighters would share services, equipment and operations with the armory.

The new complex would be built between Boutwell Road and County Road 12, about 1 1/2 miles west of the current station. The new fire station would have about 20,000 square feet for trucks, equipment and training.

Wednesday's open house will allow residents to comment on conceptual plans. No formal actions will be taken.

Representatives from the fire department and the National Guard will be present, Turnblad said, and residents will be encouraged to leave written comments that will be included in future planning discussions.

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037

  • OPEN HOUSE

    What: A proposal for a new Stillwater fire station that would share quarters with a new Minnesota National Guard armory will be reviewed.

    When: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday

    Where: Stillwater City Council chambers, 216 N. 4th St.

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