It’s been years in the making, but the Stillwater City Council on Tuesday approved the special use permits and rezoning needed to construct a $6.9 million fire station in conjunction with the National Guard’s Armory project.
The proposal has been in the works since November 2010 when the city purchased an 18.92-acre site that could accommodate a new armory and a “centrally-located” fire station immediately northwest of the Myrtle Street and Maryknoll Drive intersection on County Road 12.
The 79,465 square-foot armory and seven-bay fire station will operate independently, but share space because the buildings are attached. Some of the armory space will be available for public use, including a gym, commercial-grade kitchen and three classrooms.
The project includes a new public road that will connect Boutwell Road just east of Newberry Court North to County Road 12 at Maryknoll Drive.
The reason for the road, according to city staff, is that neighbors along Boutwell Road want both Boutwell and County Road 12 to share the armory traffic; the road must satisfy the county’s arterial road system’s functionality; and a direct connection from the fire station to County Road 12 is needed to keep response times in an acceptable range.
At Tuesday’s meeting several Croixwood residents raised concerns over traffic and noise connected the new armory and fire station.
The City Council approved the development of 35-percent design documentation for the future fire station on Dec. 6, 2011. This fall, the Council authorized city staff to proceed with planning for a single station fire-protection model that includes a new 29,600 square foot fire station.
That decision shot down the possibility of a substation located in the eastern part of the Stillwater. There is a proposal to expand the police department into the current facility at City Hall.
While the Department of Defense plans to build the new $17.5 million National Guard Armory, Congress has not approved funding for the project. Until the funding comes through, additional design work on the project is on hold.
If Congress approves the funding early in 2013, construction on the new fire station could begin next fall, and be ready for occupancy by fall 2014.
Construction on the armory will not begin until the spring of 2014. If constructed together, the fire station will be complete in spring of 2015, and the armory will be complete in fall of 2015.