Heeding concerns expressed by scores of residents, the Edina City Council unanimously decided Wednesday to locate a new fire station for the city's southeast area at an office site rather than in Rosland Park.
Mayor James Hovland said the fire station site "has caused quite a bit of conversation in the community as we've tried to figure out where to put something that we all need in a fully developed town."
A group of 261 residents had submitted a petition to the City Council urging the board not to build the fire station in Rosland Park, home to the Edina Aquatic Center and the city's playground for children with disabilities. They cited concerns about traffic, safety and the loss of green space.
So the council instead selected the site at 4401 W. 76th St. W., now occupied by an office building. A team led by Wisconsin-based Five Bugle Design, which works in the public safety industry, identified 27 potential sites for the station, and the two site finalists were reviewed in February by the City Council.
"It's not easy as all of you recognize, no matter what your view is and where it should go," Hovland said, "but we've worked hard on it. We've hired experts to assist us."
"There is no perfect site," Fire Chief Andrew Slama said.
The new station will replace Fire Station No. 2, on York Avenue next to the Southdale YMCA, which Slama has said is too small. The new station will have at least 2.4 acres for operations and equipment. Estimated cost for site acquisition, demolition of the office building and other site work is a little more than $19 million.
Edina's other station, at 6250 Tracy Av., was remodeled in 2008. Five Bugles Design is recommending that the city build a third station near City Hall in the next five to 10 years.
The 76th Street site is south of the Rosland site, which will increase response times to neighborhoods in northeast Edina. City officials have noted that building on the Rosland site would have been less expensive, since the land is owned by the city.
City officials are negotiating a purchase agreement with owners of the office building. According to spokeswoman Jennifer Bennerotte, the city will begin design work once the site is purchased.