JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The fast-growing Gate Parkway area has been served since last September by firefighters working out of a temporary structure.
But Mayor Lenny Curry, members of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and City Council members broke ground Wednesday on $7 million building that will be the new home of Fire Station No. 63.
“In this business, minutes equal lives,” JFRD Chief Keith Powers said at the ceremony.
Curry included money for three new fire stations, including No. 63, in the city budget that was approved Tuesday night by City Council.
“Firefighters spend a third of their lives away from home, from their families. So it’s very important that when a station is built -- it’s their second home,” said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters. “These fine men and women have been in a temporary station. They’ve been protecting this area for a long time. This will be a great thing for them to be able to have a nice place to come back to.”
The new station building will be a few hundred feet away from the temporary fire station on a 2.72 acre property on Gate Parkway near Burnt Mill Road.
Reducing response times and lowering insurance rates are a few benefits for the placement of the new station.
JFRD said members working at Fire Station No. 63 are responsible for 5,000 residents, 400 businesses, about 30 complexes, and several schools.
“It’s very important to this growing side of town. It’s very important that we can respond and meet those NFPA numbers to keep our response times down,” Powers said.
The NFPA is the National Fire Protection Association, an international nonprofit organization that sets standards followed by fire departments.
Powers said stations like these are 50-year investments.
Construction is estimated to take nine months, depending on weather and any unforeseen circumstances.