San Carlos Park fire district seeks land for fourth fire station
The growing community of about 25,000 within the 52-square-mile jurisdiction has prompted new stations, officials said.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

By CHRISTINA HOLDER, clholder@naplesnews.com



A land search that lasted more than a year has ended for the San Carlos Park fire district.

District officials are pursuing a contract for a parcel of land on the southeast corner of Three Oaks Parkway and Winged Foot Drive for its fourth station. They hope the station will lower the district's insurance rating, reduce response times and help the crew to serve the community more effectively.

If the district's board approves the pending contract in coming months, officials will pay a little more than $108,000 for about 36,000 square feet of space. Fire district officials say that was the best price they found during the search.



"It's an insurance policy for people. They don't want us, but they need us."

Fire Chief Nat Ippolito


"It's a good price," Fire Chief Nat Ippolito said. "We've looked at other parcels. They're going from anything from $6.50 to $5.00 a square foot."

Ippolito said the location is ideal for a substation, or a facility with limited office space that could house up to six firefighters and emergency personnel.

The station fits in well with the surrounding building uses, he said, because it will be built near office and commercial properties.

"We'll have to match the existing (buildings), to fit into the neighborhood," Ippolito said. "We'll do a good job of blending in."

Ippolito predicts the district will have to build an extension of Winged Foot Drive for access to the station and then turn it over to Lee County for maintenance.

It will cost about $720,000 to build the station, but the money would not be allocated until the fiscal 2005 budget, Ippolito said.

The growing community of about 25,000 within the 52-square-mile jurisdiction has prompted new stations, officials said.

The district's third station, a $3.2 million building that includes a training center, is under construction on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway and is scheduled to open in October.

The district is proposing a fifth station just south of Alico.

Ippolito said sometimes residents and property owners worry that a new station near the neighborhood or work place will cause unneeded disruptions.

Yet he said the district will work to keep noise minimal at the fourth station by building truck bays away from buildings.

"It's an insurance policy for people," Ippolito said. "They don't want us, but they need us."