JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's official - the City of Jacksonville has officially closed on the purchase of property that will be the new home of Fire Station #63 on Gate Parkway near Burnt Mill Road.
On Aug. 29, 2018, City Council passed Bill 2018-459, to approve the Purchase and Sale Agreement for a new Fire Station #63 in District 11. After months and years in the making, the agreement for the land purchase to build a much-needed fire station in the Baymeadows East area was approved.
The site for the new fire station will be located off of Gate Parkway across from the new Hines development called The Southside Quarter, and next to the new mixed-use development named The Palms. The site is approximately 2.72 acres and was purchased from Nouveau Management Group, LLC for $1,757,740.
The search for a new fire station site began in November 2015.
“Residents within District 11 are another step closer to having new Fire & Rescue services in the very new future”, council member Danny Becton announced. “The search for this location and the work by so many to get us to this point has been difficult and too long in the making but we are now in the final stages of mission accomplished,” Becton added. “I would certainly like to say thank you to the Mayor and his team, specifically the real estate and public works divisions, for all of the many hours and the priority made to get this deal done. Without a total team effort, this day would not have been possible,” Becton acknowledged.
In the City of Jacksonville’s budget for 2017 – 2018, $4.4 Million was appropriated to fund the construction of the Fire Station #63 along with additional resources to create Fire & Rescue Company #63 which has been housed at Station #44 at Baymeadows and Western Way while the search for the permanent site took place.
The problem that arose to facilitate this need was situations like Hampton Park, a neighborhood off Baymeadows Road East that had been rated an ISO 10 criteria for years.
“ISO 10 is the rating fire protection services are gauged,” Becton added. “One is best and 10 is worse.” “Properties in this zone are not only too far to have reliable services but homeowners can be penalized with higher insurance premiums, too.”
Over the past few years, the Hampton Park neighborhood has experienced two major fires where homes have burned, causing concern among area residents. Also, emergencies where time is precious and the target response time is eight minutes or less, the Baymeadows East area has seen response time rise to an average of 18 minutes.
“Time is about public safety and lives saved when it comes to responding to medical emergencies,” Becton noted. “This new facility will not only provide what we expect in the delivery of caring for area residents, but this facility is badly needed to take the burden off of the surrounding stations that are spread way too thin.”
This location also has an advantage in the size of the property. In 2017-2018, the budget allocated $250,000 for a temporary station to be created while the permanent one gets built. It is anticipated that within 90 days after the temporary station is operational, area residents will no longer have the ISO 10 rating.
“Now the focus will be to immediately get a temporary station built on the site,” Becton explained. “The Fire and Rescue Department is already prepared to make that happen.” “As a matter of fact, the contract has already been awarded and I am hoping to see the completion of this temporary station within 120 days or less from this closing,” Becton said.