Thursday April 24, 2008
Engine 6 to serve Portland, western edge of downtown
Mayor Jerry Abramson and Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick poured sand and gravel from wheelbarrows today to celebrate the construction of a new, state-of-the-art fire station at 2500 Griffiths Avenue.
Crews have cleared remnants of a burned building that had stood on the property, and work is underway to prepare the site for the construction of the new Engine 6. The new Portland fire station is one of two fire houses to be built this year as part of Abramson’s 21st Century fire plan.“We are looking forward to building a firehouse in Portland that meets the needs of our firefighters as well as the needs of the citizens,” Abramson said. “We are making good on the promise to develop a 21st Century fire department for a 21st Century Louisville.”
Engine 6 will be located at the intersection of 25th and Griffiths Ave. It will replace the existing station at 2425 Portland Avenue, which was built in 1903 and designed to house a single horse-drawn water wagon. The station was renovated in 1969 – removing the upper level and horse stalls and adding dormitories for the firefighters.
The new station will be larger, with 2 ½ vehicle bays to house a fire engine, an auxiliary fire engine, an EMS response vehicle while on standby, and one fire support vehicle. The location will continue to serve the Portland neighborhood and provide support to nearby areas such as Shawnee, California, Beecher Terrace and the developing areas along downtown’s western edge.
“The house is a vast improvement over the current firehouse,” Frederick said. “Not only will our firefighters have better tools and equipment to do their jobs, but the entire community will benefit from the upgrades.”
Neighbors served by this new fire station had significant input in choosing the location and adding suggestions for the design. Keyes Architects and Associates incorporated elements from the surrounding neighborhood and earlier firehouses so Engine 6 would echo the area’s architectural character.
The fire station will serve two Metro Council districts, and both council representatives applauded the city’s efforts to involve residents in the planning process.
“A firehouse is one of the significant buildings in a neighborhood, and it’s important for residents to have a voice in the earliest stages of planning,” said Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton. “I’m pleased that our neighbors were invited to be part of the process from the very beginning. It makes this fire station a true community asset.”
“Public safety is my top priority,” said Metro Councilman David Tandy. “Today, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Mayor Abramson and the dedicated residents of Portland, we begin construction on this new fire station that will bring much needed service to this wonderful historic neighborhood. This truly state of the art facility will be a welcome addition to the Fourth Metro Council District.”
Engine 6 also includes several environmentally-friendly design features, including geothermal heating and cooling and energy-efficient LED lighting in the dormitories.
Louisville Metro Public Works project managers are exploring possible stormwater collection features for the property.
Construction will begin immediately and is scheduled to be completed in December, weather permitting. Firefighters expect to be fully operational from the new Engine 6 by the end of the year.
21st Century Fire Plan Adds Vehicles, Builds New Firehouses, Maintains Stations
Since the mayor announced the 21st Century Fire Plan nearly two years ago, the city has added $2 million worth of new fire trucks and equipment to modernize the firefighting fleet:
- Tower 2 – a new aerial unit with a 95-foot telescoping ladder housed at the Floyd and Jefferson Street fire station; approximate cost $900,000
- Engine 10 – new pumper housed at Ashland Avenue fire station in Beechmont neighborhood; approximate costs $450,000
- Truck 8 – new ladder truck for Ashland Avenue station; approximate cost $650,00
Four new trucks will be ordered by July, including two new pumper trucks, a 100-foot aerial ladder truck and a rescue truck for the dive team. Ultimately, the city will replace more than half of the Fire Department’s 28-vehicle front-line fleet with new equipment.
Another new firehouse, Engine 21 on Spring Street, began construction last week. It will serve the Butchertown, Clifton and Crescent Hill neighborhoods, and is also scheduled to be fully operational by the end of the year. A third new firehouse, Engine 10 in the Beechmont neighborhood, will be constructed in 2009.
The mayor has continued to dedicate funds to refurbish existing fire stations. This year’s budget included $510,000 for such improvements. Over the past two years, the city has replaced roofs, added new windows, completed structural work, renovated dormitories, and added new heating and air-conditioning systems and vehicle bay ventilation systems.