Thursday, April 16, 2015

New fire station: a year behind schedule

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 4:36 PM

Our inbox this afternoon contained a news release from the city about how developer Gary Erickson will fund, almost, the city's new Fire Station 22 to be located at 13075 Voyager Pkwy., near Erickson's Polaris Pointe shopping center that contains Bass Pro Shop.

In the release, which is printed in full below, the city says the addition of the station, to opened a year from now, "will produce a significant improvement in response times, allowing the Colorado Springs Fire Department to bring response times in the northern reaches of the Colorado Springs back in line with the coverage provided to the rest of the city, i.e. arrival within 8 minutes 90 percent of the time...."

That makes it sound like the city's really on top of it, but actually Fire Chief Chris Riley told the Independent in December 2013 that Station 22 would open in less than a year, which would have been sometime in 2014, so the city is behind on its original time schedule. Now it's saying it won't open until March 2016.

And just FYI, when the city says the station will mean better coverage, like is provided to the rest of the city, well, the city failed to achieve responses with in 8 minutes, 90 percent of the time in every quarter since 2010, except the first two quarters of 2012 when it hit 8 minutes 90.3 percent of the time. The rest of the time, firefighters didn't miss it by much — on average, responses within 8 minutes ranged from 88 percent to 89.8 percent of the time — but they fell short of the standard.

Here'a graphic illustrating that point:

click to enlarge screen_shot_2015-04-16_at_3.20.29_pm.png

Since Riley showed up in September 2013, the city's response times have improved in four of nine planning evaluation zones (PEZs): Downtown, or PEZ 1 (8 minutes 96.6 percent of the time, which improved from 96.5 percent in third quarter 2013); central, or PEZ 4 (92.8 percent, up from 92.6 percent); southeast, or PEZ 5 (88.2 percent, up from 87.5 percent), and far east, PEZ 9 (81.9 percent, up from 73.3 percent). The last improvement likely is due to the addition of Fire Station 21 on Dublin Boulevard in that sector.

As for meeting the city's goal of getting multiple units to structure fires within 12 minutes 90 percent of the time, the CSFD missed the mark last year in five of nine zones, though it averaged 90.3 percent citywide for the year.

Here's a map of the PEZ zones.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2015-04-16_at_3.56.23_pm.png

Oh, and while Erickson will fund most of the new fire station's cost, it's up to the city to equip and staff it, and you know, those fire trucks can be pretty expensive. To staff it, Riley has said he'll switch a crew from a neighboring station, meaning that two stations will be operating at less than full strength.

If you want to read more of the 2014 statistical report, here ya go.
Here's the city's news release:
Mayor Steve Bach signed today a contract with Northgate Properties, LLC to construct a new fire station to service the north part of Colorado Springs. Fire Station 22, to be built at the intersection of Voyager Parkway and Copper Center, will produce a significant improvement in response times, allowing the Colorado Springs Fire Department to bring response times in the northern reaches of the Colorado Springs back in line with the coverage provided to the rest of the city, i.e. arrival within 8 minutes 90 percent of the time in the Flying Horse, Copper Ridge and Northgate developments.

“With recent growth in the northern part of our city, it is vital to provide this enhanced level of service to residents in that area. The addition of Fire Station 22 will allow our firefighters to provide better coverage for the city to protect the lives and property of our citizens,” said Colorado Springs Fire Chief Christopher P. Riley.

A condition of annexation of the property in Northgate in a 1998 agreement with the City required funding for a fire station. The original developers agreed to donate land and pay for the cost of the fire station in advance and recover construction costs through fees collected at the time other annexed lands are platted for development. As the current developer, Northgate Properties, LLC assumed the requirements of the annexation agreement and has agreed to construct and deliver Fire Station 22 to the City as a “turnkey” with the developer accepting the risk of construction cost overruns.

“Signing this contract allows us to provide improved fire service to northern Colorado Springs at a significant cost savings for our taxpayers thanks to the financial support from Northgate Properties, LLC, by donating the land and having development pay for the construction costs of the new fire station,” said Mayor Bach.

Because the amount to be collected from annexation fees is not sufficient to cover construction costs, the City of Colorado Springs and Northgate Properties, LLC will share the $453,000 shortfall. The City takes title to the fire station upon its completion, which is anticipated to occur in March of 2016.

Construction Cost Funding:
Collected Annexation Fees $ 697,455
Copper Ridge Metropolitan District Loan 1,029,244
Northgate Overhead and Development Fees 220,000
City Contribution 253,301
Total Construction Cost $2.2 million

Land Donation: $ 750,000

The two-story fire station will host three vehicle bays. Construction is to begin on or before August 1, 2015, with substantial completion and use of the facility by March 31, 2016.

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