The City of Delaware is set to add to its network of fire stations with a much-needed facility on the city’s east side. During Monday’s meeting of Delaware City Council, an ordinance was approved for the purchase of the property located at 680 Sunbury Road to become the city’s fifth station.
Formerly home to American Freight, the now-vacant building will be purchased for $3,995,000 using dollars from the city’s Fire and EMS Fund. Following the purchase, the existing office and warehouse on the 29,000-square-foot property will be repurposed to become Station 305.
By renovating the existing facility rather than building a new station, that city anticipates saving upwards of $13 million. According to Fire Chief John Donahue, the purchase and renovation are expected to cost approximately $7 million, whereas the construction of a new facility would have cost the city $15-20 million.
City Finance Director Justin Nahvi said of the project financing, “What we intend to is buy the property outright with the cash reserve in the Fire and EMS Fund and then issue a short-term note next year for $4 million to kind of replenish the cash, and then over the next four years, pay down that debt by $1 million increments … There’s sufficient cash, but I just don’t want to pull that much money down so quickly.”
The establishment of a station on the east side will address the pressing issues with regard to response times from emergency crews that the area has experienced. Donahue stated in a summary of the proposal that responses to the area of the Kroger distribution facility have met the desired six-minute response time 16.67% of the time for emergency responses, with the 90th percentile being 10:01 minutes this year.
With the addition of Station 305, approximately 79% of the city will be covered within the six-minute total response time window, up from 70%. Donahue said the department’s goal is to get the span of ideal response time coverage above 90%.
In addition to addressing response times for an ever-growing area of the city, the station will provide additional office space that is currently lacking and much-needed in the department.
“This facility will allow personnel to be brought to a central location, allowing for better coordination and efficiency,” Donahue wrote in the summary.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the city to increase its fire and EMS presence on the east side of the city,” City Manager Tom Homan said during Monday’s meeting.
Station 305 would be another tangible improvement resulting from the community’s approval of the income tax increase in 2008 that was aimed specifically to increase fire and EMS services. Since the approval of the tax measure, the city has constructed two new fire stations while adding additional personnel.
Expectations are for the department to use the upcoming year to plan for renovations, with the renovations likely being finished near the end of 2023.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.