Louisville Fire Newsroom 

Abramson: 21st Century Fire Department On Tap

Friday May 25, 2007

--Mayor’s budget to build new fire stations, purchase trucks--

Mayor Jerry Abramson today outlined more than $10 million worth of progress as part of his 21st Century Fire plan—a long-term commitment to modernize the Louisville Fire Department with new fire stations and equipment to enhance protection and help save lives.

The mayor said his upcoming budget proposal will include $6.8 million to build modern fire stations in the Clifton and Portland neighborhoods and to purchase four new fire trucks to replace existing vehicles. The new fire stations would open in 2008, and an expanded and renovated station in the Beechmont neighborhood is projected to be complete in 2009.

“A 21st Century Louisville deserves a 21st Century Fire Department,” Abramson said. “Modern firefighting facilities and equipment will elevate the responsiveness and flexibility of our fire department, providing for enhanced fire protection for our citizens.”

The investment in stations and trucks is in addition to the department’s proposed $54.6 million operating budget, which includes a $5.5 million increase in spending for salaries and benefits.

New stations to be larger, more flexible
The mayor said the city will first replace the oldest two of the three stations, with $4 million in his proposed budget for construction of the Clifton station and Portland station. Funding for the Beechmont station would be slated for future budgets.

The Clifton-area station will be located at Spring St. and Story Ave., co-located with a private industrial-laundry facility at 1400 Story Ave. It will replace the existing station at Frankfort Ave. and Pope St., which was built in 1891. The new station will be larger, growing from one to three vehicle bays to house Telesqurt 21, an EMS unit while on standby, and a bay to accommodate future expansion. The location will continue to conveniently serve the Clifton, Butchertown and Crescent Hill neighborhoods and enhance response to the developing areas along River Road and downtown’s eastern edge.

The Portland-area station
will be located at 2500 Griffiths Ave., currently a vacant lot with an absentee owner. It will replace the existing station at 2425 Portland Ave., built in 1903. The new station will include two vehicle bays to house Engine 6 and an EMS unit while on standby, and will have convenient access to 26th St. as a primary north-south artery.

The Beechmont-area station, currently at 501 Ashland Ave., will be expanded on site, completely renovating the existing station and adding new space to more than double in size. It will be developed as the Fire Department’s southern operational hub, with four vehicle bays to house a district chief, Engine 10, Truck 8, and an EMS unit. It also will accommodate training sessions for the fire district.

All the new fire stations will provide enhanced and expanded living space, with accommodations for both male and female firefighters, and will be built with energy-efficient features to reduce maintenance costs.

The city is progressing through the stages of acquisition and property transfer for all three locations, and is reviewing architectural bids for the new fire stations. Construction would begin in Clifton and Portland later this year.

Accelerated vehicle replacement, fire-station maintenance to continue
Since the mayor announced the 21st Century Fire plan one year ago, the city has added $2.9 million worth of new fire trucks to modernize the firefighting fleet:

Tower 2 – new aerial unit with 95-foot telescoping ladder housed at Floyd and Jefferson St. fire station; approximate cost $900,000

Engine 10 – new pumper housed at the Ashland Ave. fire station in Beechmont neighborhood; approximate cost $450,000

Truck 8 – new ladder truck for Ashland Ave. station, on order and set for delivery in June; approximate cost $650,000

  • HazMat 1 – new hazardous-materials rescue vehicle housed at Grade Lane fire station near Louisville International Airport; approximate cost $450,000 (funded through U.S. Homeland Security)
  • HazMat 5 – new hazardous-materials rescue vehicle housed at Floyd and Jefferson St. fire station; approximate cost $450,000 (funded through U.S. Homeland Security)

The mayor said his upcoming budget will continue the commitment to replace more than half the Fire Department’s 28-vehicle front-line fleet with new equipment by 2009. He will recommend the city spend $2.8 million in the next year to replace four additional fire trucks.

In the past two years, more than $1.5 million has been invested to refurbish existing fire stations. In all, the city has completed more than 80 projects, including new windows, structural work, renovated dormitories, new heating and air-conditioning systems and vehicle-bay ventilation systems. The mayor said his budget proposal will continue to fund ongoing maintenance of fire stations with $510,500, more than doubling the current budget.