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Siesta Key Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 3 weeks ago

Work begins soon on new Siesta Key fire station

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The station will be built on the same location, at 1170 Beach Road, and will be two stories.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

Siesta Key firefighters will soon pack up and move out of their base … but not for long.

Last week, the County Commission approved the demolition contract with Willis A. Smith Construction Inc., for Fire Station 13. 

Costs for demolition and necessary improvements to the temporary station are estimated at $242,000. Construction costs are estimated at $3,659,200.

During construction, firefighters from Station 13, located at 1170 Beach Road, will move nearby to 5700 Midnight Pass Road, Fire Chief Michael Regnier said during a Siesta Key Association meeting.

Construction on the new, two-story facility is set to begin in spring 2020 and will take around one year to complete. Although the firefighters would have to shift locations for that year, Regnier said the inconvenience would be worth the payoff.

“The inconvenience of being at a temporary fire station is not something that firefighters worry about,” he said.

The new station will be built similar to the two-story fire stations at 8821 S. Tamiami Trail, near Westfield Sarasota Square Mall, and at 3110 Bee Ridge Road.

The original station was built to accommodate two people in 1973, but the two-story building will accommodate as many as four to six personnel. Although the new station will not feature a community meeting room, it will be built to withstand future hurricanes that might hit the island.

“The fire station needs to be built, so that after the storm, when you all want to get back to your homes and get an assessment and move back in, you need to have fire service,” Regnier said. “We need to be able to come back to a fire station that’s still there.”

Additionally, it will have a smaller footprint not to take parking away from Siesta Beach.

Some Siesta Key residents, however, thought it would be more beneficial to sell the beachfront property — which the county has owned since 1950 — for parking or other developments and move the station elsewhere. The Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s office lists the value of the land at $2.8 million.

Regnier said the department decided to keep the station in its current location because it is in the relative middle of the island. 

Through the use of Geographical Information System software, Regnier said, the department has determined it is able to get to locations on the north and south ends of the island in near even times from the station’s current location.

“We found out that location is the best suited place for Siesta Key,” he said. “ … We can get to everywhere on Siesta Key within a timely fashion.” 

In addition to Station 13, new stations are being built on Apex Road near Celery Fields and on Bee Ridge Road. 

 

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