The City of Prairie Village and Consolidated Fire District No. 2 on Tuesday formally announced the consideration of a plan that would put a new fire station at the edge of the municipal complex that currently houses city hall, the police department and the community center.
CFD2 has for the past few years been looking at locations to replace the outdated Station 23 at 9011 Roe Avenue. Built in 1955, the station can barely hold its 105-foot aerial truck, and its quarters for the firefighters are in bad condition.
More than two years ago, CFD2 purchased two parcels of land along 95th Street with the intent of putting the replacement station there. At the time, that location was viewed as optimal for providing the nearest coverage for the most residents in CFD2’s area. But when the city of Overland Park decided early this year not to renew the service contract it had had with CFD2 to provide fire services for the area bordering Leawood and Prairie Village, CFD2 went back to the drawing board.
After months of study, CFD2 approached the city about the possibility of housing the replacement station on the Prairie Village municipal grounds. CFD2 Chief Tony Lopez said the top consideration for the department was getting fire services as close to the center of demand as possible. With a series of maps shown to the city council Tuesday, Lopez showed that some of the the longest response times in Prairie Village at present happen to overlap with the highest call volume areas, which happen to be centered around 77th Street and Mission Road.
“[The municipal ground location] would be us right in the middle of the high demand area,” Lopez said.
Lopez noted that the fire department was likely to include a number of features in the design of the new station that would be of benefit to residents and the police department. He envisioned the west side of the building having public restrooms that could be used by patrons of the skate park or disc golf course during daylight hours. He also noted that the department would be installing a triggered traffic light system at the exit onto Mission Road, which could but used by the police department as well, so that fire trucks could safely exit the station to respond to calls without using their sirens.
“We think this would create a public safety center for the city,” Lopez said.
Prairie Village City Administrator Quinn Bennion said the city had had the .86 acres of property along the south edge of the municipal complex parking where the fire department is interested in putting the new station appraised at $275,000. On Tuesday, the council directed city staff to move forward with the development of a sale agreement that will come back to them for further deliberation and another vote.
While the council was generally supportive of the idea, a handful of councilors expressed the desire to take a more comprehensive look at the municipal ground site before moving forward. Councilor Terrence Gallagher noted that the skate park is tentatively slated to be completely removed and rebuilt on account of its deteriorating concrete. He suggested that fact should come into consideration as the city and fire department investigate the optimal placement of a new fire station.