The South end Fire Station #92 has lived a long and productive life, but now the time has come to rebuild it to meet the needs of our modern community. Built in 1962, the station was designed to serve a mostly-young population of 13,000. As our community grew bigger and older, our Fire and Rescue needs grew bigger and older too. Unfortunately, for the south-end Fire Station that meant outgrowing the facility they were housed in and overstretching the demographic they were equipped to cover. Just as children outgrow their clothes, our community has outgrown our Fire Station.
Some would try to stretch the life of the station to its point of failure. The health and safety of the most vulnerable of our population is not something to place bets on. It is better to err on the side of caution then to wait for disaster to strike first. We cannot wait for the economic climate to improve, or the ideal taxation method to be vetted, or any number of factors the naysayers in our community say we must wait for. The need is now; the risk is now. It will cost our community more if we wait because of political bickering.
The proposed plan for the new south-end Fire Station #92 is thoroughly vetted for cost effectiveness. It is by no means luxurious. The new station is designed for maximum efficiency of space and it has flexibility for the future needs of the community. It has a fourth sleeping room, a meeting room, and a patient receiving lobby that the current station does not, and these are just three of the things that a modern fire station needs. For a typical home on Mercer Island (median price $700,000), the cost for homeowners is just over $5 per month for nine years. The cost is deferred for low-income seniors.
Our modern regional Fire and Rescue is an integrated system. In the event of a regional emergency, Mercer Islands north-end fire station and personnel will be pulled away to assist other cities. At that time, the south-end fire station is then the primary means of all-island first response in the event of a local emergency, something that the current Station #92 was not designed to accommodate.
The $5.2 million that the new station and rescue truck will cost our community is an investment in the safety of its citizens. When it comes to response times, minutes matter, whether it is for medical treatment or extinguishing a fire. Each of us hope that we or a loved one will never have need of the services that Station #92 provides, but we each need to be prepared with the resources that give the best possible care when that 911 call has to be made. Lets ensure that everyone who has to make that call can be confident in our city is resources. Please vote “Yes” on Proposition 1.
Andrew E. King is the campaign manager of Vote Yes, Proposition 1.