The Anchorage Fire Department hopes to relocate Station 3 to a lot on Bragaw Street; a move it believes could decrease response times in Mountain View.
Jim Vignola, the department’s deputy chief of operations, outlined the proposed move at Monday night’s Mountain View Community Council meetings. He said the department hopes to rebuild the current Airport Heights Drive station on a one-acre parcel on the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School lot. The proposed move would not disturb the school, Vignola said, and was prompted by several factors.
The first, he said, was cost.
Vignola told council meeting attendees the state granted about $6 million in capital funding to upgrade the station more than five years ago. After completing studies and plans at the current site adjacent Merrill Field, he said, the department realized environmental and utility issues would make rebuilding prohibitively expensive.
Construction at the training facility next door had uncovered trash from the landfill formerly located where the airport now stands, and Vignola said the department expected to pay site remediation costs to rebuild on the current property.
There were also sewer line problems, he said; another issue uncovered during training facility construction.
“The cost estimate alone to replace the sewer line for Fire Station 3 was over a quarter million dollars,” Vignola said Monday night. “That eats right into that budget, right away.”
The department began looking at other options, and the deputy operations chief said it eventually set its sights on the $1 million Bragaw parcel. If plans go through, Vignola said, the station would be located on a vacant corner of the lot occupied by the cultural charter school. The land is still owned by its previous tenant, Pacific Northern Academy, according to municipal property records. The school building would remain in its current spot, Vignola said.
The slight change in station location could decrease response times to the northwest corners of Mountain View, a small corner of town that sees more than 400 calls every year, he said. When it came down to it, he said the department doesn’t have much choice.
“All of these things kind of happen and you dwindle at that $6 million, now we only have $5 million and we can’t build there,” Vignola said of the current site. “We can’t rebuild the station there anymore.”