New CES station plan gets public hearing next week

Aug 23, 2018

 

CES Station 1 in Soldotna has been updated and expanded several times since it was first built as a fire station in 1960.
Credit Kenai Peninsula Borough

The ordinance authorizing the purchase of land for a new Central Emergency Services station gets its next public hearing next week before the borough planning and zoning commission.

The ordinance on the table asks for $1.5 million to buy just under 4 acres of property near the Y in Soldotna. At the borough’s most recent finance committee meeting, CES Chief Roy Browning said the current station, at the corner of Binkley street and the Sterling Highway, has been updated and expanded as far is it can go since being built as a fire station almost 60 years ago.

“We feel as the service area and for the community, it’s long overdue. We have not only building standards, but living conditions, operational effectiveness and efficiency concerns. And a growing (need) for response, about four percent per year. We do not have the capacity to meet the needs of the service area.”

The acquisition will deal with two property owners and it will mean some extra construction around those parcels to realign the recently-completed Homestead Drive, to allow access in and out of the new station both via the highway and Redoubt Avenue. The money will come in the form of a loan from the borough’s Land Trust Investment Fund, to be paid back in 10 years at five percent.

 

The borough’s land manager, Marcus Mueller, says the move to a new Station 1 for CES creates surplus property for the borough, both in town at the old Station 1 and at the Mackey Lake station.

“As far as I can see, the entirety of the proceeds from Station 1 would go to CES. And with the Mackey Lake station, we are actually looking at a plan of development for the larger borough holdings that are there, so we can pull out the Mackey Lake station and surplus that, probably a two and a half acre parcel, and CES would certainly get the proceeds from the building value and we’ll figure out the land value on (that) site.”

Browning said the same stoplight control technology that currently allows first responders to quickly navigate the busy intersection at the current Station 1 will also be used in CES’ new home, just down the road. Construction is expected to be finished by 2021. The public hearing is set for the planning and zoning commission’s next meeting on Monday, August 27th.