Boynton scheduled to decide on site for fire station

By Beth P. Krane
Staff Writer
Posted May 20 2003

Boynton Beach The City Commission is expected to choose a location tonight for a fire station east of the railroad tracks.

A new station would reduce response times in that part of the city from seven to four minutes. The new station has been a goal since the commission imposed a controversial fire assessment on home and business owners in 2001. City staff has zeroed in on two sites -- 1.4 acres on the northwest corner of South Federal Highway and Southeast 23rd Avenue, and 1.9 acres on the southwest corner of South Federal Highway and Southeast 18th Avenue.

The City Commission authorized eminent-domain proceedings for the 1.9-acre Hayes Clinic property in April, but staff is still negotiating with the owner, who wants $1.5 million. The owner of the smaller property wants $1.65 million.

And instead of renovating the South Congress Avenue station, Fire Chief William Bingham wants the commission to consider replacing it with a station double the size on 3.2 acres the city already owns north of Woolbright Road and west of Congress Avenue. That plan could cost $4.4 million, more than three times the budgeted amount, but, Bingham said, it would not require extra funds because additional facilities budgeted for another station could be built there instead.

"I'm trying to meet the needs of the city so we won't need to build another station for 15 or 20 years," he said.

Progress on the fire stations can't come soon enough for Vice Mayor Mike Ferguson. "My constituency is furious that nothing's been done yet," Ferguson said. He doesn't want the city to collect any more fire fees until it spends what it already has.

The fire fee, which the commission will review in July, is supposed to raise about $9.8 million over seven years for these projects and to move Station No. 1, next to City Hall, to the city's northeast side. The city has collected more than $4 million in fire fees so far and has another $2 million set aside from a refinanced bond.

Beth P. Krane can be reached at or 561-243-6631.