Some neighbors on Indianapolis' near-north side are questioning a plan to combine firehouses to make way for a multimillion-dollar medical building.
Clarian Health and Methodist Hospital plan to construct a $200 million neurosciences facility near 16th Street and Capitol Avenue, bringing 1,200 jobs to the area.
"It's a big, big project for the city," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "I think it's very important for the community and for the near-north area, an area that can use that sort of help."
As part of the project, the city plans to close Indianapolis Fire Department Station 5, a fixture in the neighborhood for 27 years, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.
In 2009, firefighters from Station 5 responded to more than 2,300 calls for service.
When Station 5 is closed, Station 23 at 975 W. Burdsal Parkway will pickup the additional run load, fire officials said.
Firefighters there responded to more than 1,800 calls for service last year.
As part of the development, the city then plans to build a $6 million fire station somewhere in the area, rendering Station 23 obsolete as well.
"We're looking at other areas in that corridor that will provide the best level of fire protection for the neighborhood and state of the art equipment for the firefighters," said Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Michael Huber.
Some who live near Station 23, which was built in the 1950s, say they will miss having firefighters so close by.
"There's a lot of elderly people around here," said Kim, who runs a variety store a block from Station 23. "We feel safer, and their response time is really quick. If they move out of the area, it'll be a sad day for us."
City officials said the goal of the new fire station would be to ensure a four-minute response time across the area previously served by Station 23 and Station 5.
Station 5 could close by Dec. 1.
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