By Teri Nehrenz
On Tuesday, Feb. 8 City Council members voted unanimously to construct a brand-new fire station on the Mesquite Blvd. dirt lot in front of the library.
During the meeting council members explored a bit of information about what funds could be used for the construction and there are several options they will be looking into. For the purposes of this vote, the council and builders/architects were more focused on where the new department would be located. There was some discussion about renovating the current Fire Station #1 which would have saved the city roughly $200,000 in costs initially.
With renovations, asbestos removal and new fittings for water and power, there are always surprises which may increase the cost of a new station. Not knowing is not as reliable for budgeting as new construction. It was mentioned that new construction costs could be more easily controlled and, in the end, could save the city a lot of unexpected costs.
Firefighters spend a third of their lives in a “second home” within the department and the current Fire Station #1 is loaded with asbestos and other unsafe elements. A lack of proper ventilation for the smoke and chemical ridden clothing and equipment that is removed after a fire is a health concern. Currently, the sleeping quarters are right next to that area. It’s simply not healthy for the city’s First Responders to live in those conditions. Soon, they won’t have to.
The location was chosen for several reasons, the main one being the central location. The calls received daily are much closer to the Blvd. area than the industrial area where Station #3 is located.
It is also included in the bid for the new fire station to put a traffic light and crossing signals in front of the new building to mitigate any traffic issues. The signal would only be activated when there was an emergency call, and the trucks would be exiting the station. The trucks would exit onto the Blvd. but there will be another entrance constructed for the trucks to return off of Desert Dr.
The new station will block the view of the library from the Blvd. The thought about that was, “The aesthetically pleasing area around the library is off of First North, not the Blvd.” Blocking the view is only blocking the back of the library which isn’t landscaped and currently sports nothing but a vacant dirt lot; anything is an improvement, especially a state-of-the-art fire station.
Another thought is the increased awareness it may give the children visiting the library. This may inspire some children to want to become First Responders. You can almost smell the smoke from all the gears burning and turning inside the heads of the council members when that was mentioned. The new station, once completed, will probably have a steady stream of curious Georges and Georgettes.
It was advised that the current building that houses Fire Station #1 would be preserved for future renovation and growth for the city. There are several options for use of the building from storage to extra office space. Fire Station #3 is a good station but the department is outgrowing it and the Emergency Operations has some issues with losing power when there are outages.
In other business, the city voted to approve both a liquor license and class A gaming license for the new Green Valley Grocery being constructed 1215 W. Pioneer Blvd.
Council voted to approve a 54-lot single family subdivision (Sparrow Crest) on 13.52 acres located at 875 W. Pioneer Blvd in the Falcon Ridge Planned Unit Development. There are also plans to place a traffic light at the intersection of Pioneer and Horizon Blvd. That light is next in the city’s plans for traffic control upgrades around the city.
Item 6.1-Consideration for approval of the adoption of Bill B22-001 as Ordinance B22-001 to amend Mesquite Municipal code by amending Title 9, Chapter 7, section 9-7N-3, Section 9-7N-2 and 9-7N-3 to amend the permitted uses and conditional uses failed to pass.
The reason the newly installed light at the corner of Riverside Dr. and Hafen Ln. is due to the city having to wait on “services.” Covid has backed up schedules for the installation of the pedestrian crossing signals and road marking. They did discuss turning the lights on a red flash mode (4-way stop) until they can have the crossing signals installed and turn the lights on to “full function.”
You can view a video of the Feb. 8 city council meeting here: https://mesquitenv.granicus.com/player/clip/2178?view_id=1&redirect=true