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Fire chief asks city for a second station

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River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Hudson Fire Chief Jim Frye appealed to the City Council Monday night for construction of a second fire and ambulance station.

The fire department and St. Croix Emergency Medical Services have outgrown their current facilities in the Public Safety Building in downtown Hudson and desperately need more space for offices and apparatus, Frye said in a written communication to the council.

The memo outlined a schedule for construction of a second station that Frye said has been approved by the Hudson Area Joint Fire Advisory Board. It calls for purchase of a building site in 2006, development of plans in 2007 and construction in 2008.

The favored location for the second station is the vacant county-owned land at the northwest corner of Carmichael Road and Vine Street. The second-best option would be near the intersection of Hanley and O'Neil roads on the southeast side of the city, according to the memo.

"Because of growth, we feel we need to expand to the east a little," Frye told council members.

He asked if the city would consider locating the fire and ambulance station even farther to the east in the town of Hudson.

Mayor Jack Breault said he would take the issue up at the next meeting of the Hudson Area Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of representatives of St. Croix County, the Hudson School District, the towns of Hudson, St. Joseph and Troy, the village of North Hudson and the city of Hudson.

Breault cautioned that tax levy limits that municipalities must operate under during the next two years won't leave much money for building projects.

Frye said the main concern of the fire board is to acquire a building site while property is still available.

"We don't want the land to be gone (when the decision is made to build)," he said.

The Hudson Fire Department serves the city of Hudson, town of Hudson, village of North Hudson and a portion of the town of Troy. The cost of operating the volunteer department is divided among the municipalities according to their property valuations (in Troy, the valuation of the area served by the department).

Currently, the city of Hudson provides 48.3 percent of the department's operating budget, the town of Hudson, 29.7 percent, North Hudson, 14 percent, and Troy, 8 percent.

In his memo to council members, Frye said a second station would shorten the time it takes for the department to arrive at fires east of the city. It also would lower insurance premiums for homeowners whose houses are more than five miles away from the existing station, he said.

Only 75 percent of the fire district is within five road miles of the current station, Frye said. He said that with a station near the corner of Carmichael and Vine, 95 percent of the district would be within five miles of a station.

Frye suggested that the city might consider using a new building as a second police station, too.

The cost estimates presented by Frye included $500,000 for the land purchase, $100,000 for architectural and engineering services, and $3 million in construction costs.

The annual cost of the fire and ambulance station to city taxpayers would be an estimated $97,576 over 30 years.

Randy Hanson can be reached at rhanson@rivertowns.net

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Hudson Star Observer 715-386-9891 customer support
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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