Almost 64 years to the day the old Station 18 in Spring Hill was dedicated, Mayor Sandy Stimpson, members of the Mobile City Council and others cut the ribbon on a new, state-of-art fire station on the same footprint.
“I’m excited to be standing here inside the new fire station,” said Councilwoman Gina Gregory, who represents Spring Hill on the body. “This is a home away from home for our firefighters.”
Gregory noted the first Station 18, which was demolished before the new one was built, was dedicated in March 1957.
In introducing the public to the new, $2.5 million building, Stimpson spoke first about the long list of deferred maintenance needed on city-owned buildings and how his administration has worked to cut into a $250 million backlog.
“We had to build something new,” he said. “At the end of the day, everyone will agree this is a fantastic fire station. We’ll continue to build more as funding becomes available.”
This marks the second new fire station proposed by the Stimpson administration and approved by councilors. The first was a mega station in the Crichton area.
“[Councilman] Mr. [Fred] Richardson calls the Crichton station the mother of all fire stations,” Gregory quipped. “Well, Fred, this is the attractive daughter.”
The construction of Station 18 lasted about a year, including planning and design. The entire process took around four years to complete. Gregory was instrumental in working with the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department (MFRD) and the Village of Spring Hill to ensure the design met the expectations of the MFRD personnel who will use the facility and residents who share the neighborhood, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.
While the building is complete, Gregory and Linda St. John, president of the Village of Spring Hill group, promised more amenities will be added to the site, including landscaping and community spaces.
St. John told reporters the group has received a $50,000 grant and has raised a total of $30,000 so far to add a community pavilion and seating area outside the new station. St. John said the project is expected to cost $100,000.
The new fire station adds to a renewed focus on giving MFRD personnel the latest in equipment. MFRD Chief Jeremy Lami said with four new trucks ordered and expected to be delivered over the next couple of years, the oldest MFRD apparatus will be from 2016. He marveled at the feat, noting that a few years ago, apparatus averaged 15 to 20 years old.
The station also allows the MFRD administration to keep an eye toward safety for paramedics and firefighters. One small change with this station compared to older ones, Lami said, is the ice machine has been moved out of the range of vehicle exhaust. He said there have been cancer cases in firefighters linked to the use of ice situated too close to exhaust.
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