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New EMS station planned in Lakewood Ranch

County hopes to buy Red Cross building in Lakewood Ranch.

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  • | 7:40 a.m. November 14, 2018
  • East County
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In an effort to improve response times for ambulances in the Lakewood Ranch area, Manatee County plans to purchase the American Red Cross building, located off Malachite Drive in Lakewood Ranch.

Manatee County has negotiated to purchase the 1.25-acre property and 6,500-square-foot building at 10311 Malachite Drive for $650,000 and plans to spend another $300,000 or so on renovations to make it an EMS station. The facility likely will house two


Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said the deal makes sense financially for the county, but declined further comment. County commissioners are expected to consider the purchase during their Nov. 27 meeting.

Emergency Medical Services Chief Paul DiCicco said the location midway between State Roads 64 and S.R. 70 on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard gives ambulances greater access to move north or south and will improve responses to the Rosedale community, which has a controlled emergency vehicle access gate on Malachite.

“As building and development continues to grow in Manatee County, the need for a strategic placement of emergency response resources and operational facilities continues to be a priority for Manatee County Public Safety,” DiCicco said. “Response time, operational space requirements, emergency planning and future growth were all considerations factored into the acquisition of the Red Cross property.”

East Manatee Fire Rescue District Chief Lee Whitehurst said Manatee County Emergency Medical leases space for ambulances and crews at three firehouses — Station 2 at 803 60th St. Court E., Station 5 at 15015 59th Ave. E., and Station 6 at 8800 E. State Road 70.

Generally, EMS uses bay space for its ambulances and space for crews to sleep and complete paperwork. Paramedics and firefighters share the “day room,” where crews relax and prepare meals. Rent is $1,000 per month at Stations 5 and 6 and $1,500 per month at Station 2.

Although EMS and EMFR have a symbiotic relationship, Whitehurst said the proposed change will not impact East Manatee Fire Rescue.

“We’re happy to accommodate them. It’s part of what we do,” Whitehurst said. “In reality, where they are doing it has no bearing on what we as a fire department are doing.”

Only Station 5 near the intersection of Lorraine Road and S.R. 70 was built to accommodate emergency medical services’ needs and has been used by EMS since 2005, Whitehurst said. At the other two stations, EMS filled space that was no longer being used.

“Certainly that space won’t go to waste,” Whitehurst said. “We’re always looking for space for storage, or what have you, as we expand.”

DiCicco said once the Red Cross building is made operational, the ambulance and district supervisor at Station 6 will be relocated. The  Public Safety Department is still discussing the placement of other resources at that location.

County spokesman Nicholas Azzara said the new facility also would provide enough space to store equipment for special needs shelters.


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