Lehi plans fire station expansion

Cathy Allred City Editor

Lehi is adding another fire station in 2005, according to a city report.

Sandwiched in the introductory section of the fiscal year-end report for 2003-2004 presented in January is written "The fire department will move into a satellite station next year."

Signed by Ed Collins, city administrator, and Ron Foggin, finance director, the statement may have a ring of truth to it, or it may not, depending on who is asked.

"It's a moving target," Ken Greenwood said. "It's been kind of pushed back. We're going to work on improving the existing one down here."

The mayor said the downtown station will probably get an expansion first so the fire department has larger bays to house the bigger equipment.

"Architect Mark Wilson is working on the plans," Collins said. "All of those things are contingent upon other budget priorities."

Foggin said the estimated cost for a downtown fire station expansion is $350,000 and $200,000 to renovate a north Lehi fire station satellite and is part of a five-year capital facilities project budget.

Whether it will be a downtown fire station expansion or a north Lehi satellite station is "up in the air," said Collins. "Those are things we spend a lot of time considering."

He believes the renovation of the satellite station will begin some time after July 1. The future satellite station project building on 2600 North and 300 East is already owned by the city.

On 2.5 acres, the building was used as a Murdock Canal water testing facility by the Salt Lake Metropolitan Water District and then turned over to Lehi City after the testing was completed.

There is a possibility of more full-time firefighters along with the addition of a station and/or a downtown expansion.

"We've been preparing our volunteers for years towards that," said Dale Ekins, fire chief. "I don't know what the time table is."

A lot he said is up to the city. It will probably be a gradual process, adding one full-time firefighter at a time.

"I think the new Lehi development will help with the tax base," he said. "I think it's time. Our call volume is heading for justification of that."

The department's call volume, or number of calls out for assistance has increase markedly with the population increase from 24,000 to 34,000 since 1999.

It was Ekins understanding a renovation of the existing fire station would be done first to house the larger fire department vehicles and future full-time fire department; and then the satellite station, but rapid growth in north Lehi along with a large commercial business moving into the area may change the time table.

"In my mind as we go along we should save people first and as we get more money we can work on saving material things," Greenwood said.