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Stimulus Money Will Build New Beechmont Firehouse in Louisville

Wednesday September 23, 2009

$3.3 million award among nation’s largest Recovery Act grants for fire stations

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today that Louisville has been awarded one of the country’s ten largest grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for new firehouse construction. The $3.3 million award will be used to construct a new firehouse in the Beechmont neighborhood -- part of the Mayor’s 21st Century Fire Plan.

“The Beechmont fire station on Ashland Avenue is truly a shovel-ready project,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “We have purchased the necessary property, we have demolished buildings, we have cleared the lot and we have completed the design work. I’m excited that this stimulus grant will allow us to begin construction quickly on this important piece of the 21st Century Fire Plan.”

The Beechmont station – to be completed by the end of 2010 -- will be the third fire house constructed under the Mayor’s 21st Century Fire Plan. Two other stations – Engine 6 in Portland and Engine 21 in Butchertown – were completed earlier this year.

The Department of Homeland Security awarded more than $165 million to 104 different fire departments across the country for station construction or renovation. The Mt. Sterling Fire Department earned the only other award in Kentucky, in the amount of $1.1 million.

“This was a competitive grant, and to have one of the ten largest awards in the country speaks to the strength of this project and the strength of our Louisville at Work team,” Abramson said.

The federal grant will cover 80 percent of the remaining costs associated with construction and outfitting the firehouse, estimated at $4 million. Abramson said he’s committed to including the remaining $700,000 needed to complete the project in the upcoming bond issue later this year.

The construction is expected to create 153 jobs in Louisville.

“Investing $3.3 million in Recovery Act funds for a new Beechmont fire station will yield both immediate and long-term benefits,” said Congressman John Yarmuth. “The construction of the facility will create jobs right now, while the new, state-of-the-art station will help ensure the safety and security of Louisville families for decades to come.”

“The new Beechmont station will be more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more responsive to our community,” said Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick. “The house offers vast improvements in apparatus space, living quarters and access – and that means the entire community will benefit.”

The current station was built in 1924, and has posed challenges for the needs of a modern firefighting fleet. For example, a new aerial ladder truck had to be modified to fit into the station’s small apparatus bay.

The new station will nearly double the size of the existing fire house, and will use energy-efficient technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling. The station will house 36 full-time firefighters.