The Future of Station One
Why are plans being made to replace Fire Station One?Part One – The History of Station One
The Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department was officially formed by residents in 1948. The land for a fire station on Main Street was donated by Mary Quintance. In 1986 the Evergreen Ambulance Service merged with the Fire District. From a population of approximately 600 full time residents in the 1940’s Evergreen grew over the next 40 years to 13,000 and by the year 2000 it had grown to 22,500 residents. The 2020 census shows the local population as approximately 27,000.
In response to the growth in population and the increased need for protection services, the Fire District built a new a fire station in 1966 to replace the orginal two bays with a seven bay station located on Hwy. 73.
Station Two on Bergen Parkway was added in 1978, Station Four in 1984, and Station Three in Marshdale in 1995. The remaining four stations, built between 2004 and 2006, were added through a bond issue which included adding apparatus. Each station was added in areas that were identified through a study as the best location for response coverage. Today there are seven Fire Stations and one EMS Station housing 26 fire apparatus, four ambulances, administration and support buildings, and a fleet of support vehicles.
The 2001 Master Plan and the 2014 Strategic Plan identified that any changes to Hwy 73 could make Station One unusable. After 55 years, the time to replace Station One has arrived. Through strategic planning and staying aware of external factors impacting the station location, the district board and Fire Chief Weege have planned for replacement in the future to minimize the impact to the community.
Several factors have driven the decision to begin the process of replacing this station. The largest of these factors is the widening of Hwy. 73 where it passes the station. With the road being widened to include turn lanes, bike lanes, walking paths, and parking areas connected to the downtown area, this will reduce the apron where the trucks are parked in front of the bay doors and eliminate the firefighter parking area on the other side of the road.
The second significant factor is the station bay doors. These are 10 feet wide/10 feet tall leaving the station unable to accommodate the size and type of modern fire and rescue engines. The depth of the bays contribute to the issues for placement of apparatus. The photo below shows one of the fire trucks purchased new in 1966 parked beside a fire engine that was built in 2005. The red line in the photo is the top of the overhead doors. As shown in the photo, if we were able to accommodate taller and longer trucks by remodeling at this location, we would continue to block traffic in order to back in to the bays once the road is widened.
The third significant factor at this location is the asbestos-based materials that were prominently used in construction before 1980 and the electrical/plumbing systems that are failing.