Fire Station 37 groundbreaking set for May 12


Just in from the city. This is the new fire station, to be built at the site of the vacant house shown above (across from 35th/Holden Chevron), to replace the historic-landmark station building at 35th/Othello:

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Mayor Nickels will be there for the groundbreaking at the new site at 11 am May 12. Here’s the official invitation.

18 Replies to "Fire Station 37 groundbreaking set for May 12"

  • Keith April 27, 2009 (5:20 pm)

    TR, did you ever find out what might happen with the original Station 37 building?

  • DRS April 28, 2009 (9:05 am)

    I’m having a hard time understanding why we’re spending the money to build a new fire station in the current economy. The current Station 37 building may not be the most modern facility, but it’s not exactly falling down, either. Why can’t we save a whole bucketload of money and just do some updating while preserving the historic building? Additionally, what is going to happen to the current Station 37 building once they move into the new facility? Does anyone know?

  • jsrekd April 28, 2009 (10:09 am)

    If you google “fire station 37 seattle” you’ll get a link to why they need to build another station. Existing one too small, and cannot be remodeled and maintain historically significant building (my paraphrase.)

  • jsrekd April 28, 2009 (10:12 am)

    And…as for the old site:

    “It has been designated as a landmark. It will be sold and the proceeds returned to the levy program.”

  • Cheryl April 28, 2009 (10:14 am)

    I’m curious about the historic building too. It would be nice to have a West Seattle Fire “museum” there… if money were no issue that is. I certainly hope the city doesn’t just tear it down.

    As for providing new facilities for firefighters, I am a firm believer that fire stations should be in the BEST condition possible. These men & women spend 3-4 straight days during a shift in those fire stations, so IMO their comfort & the equipment they use is as important for morale as it is for their ability to do their jobs effectively, etc. Dilapidated buildings just aren’t good business.

    As a taxpayer, this is ONE expense I don’t mind footing the bill for.

  • flowerpetal April 28, 2009 (10:52 am)

    The voters approved the construction by levy so the money is already “there.” Levies aren’t reversed. The old firehouse is not large enough to contain the necessary equipment to keep West Seattle homes and businesses safe. Also, this facility is too small to be co-ed and that makes it outdated in the job market.

  • DRS April 28, 2009 (11:16 am)

    Thank you, jsrekd. I hope landmark status is enough to prevent it from being torn down by some enterprising developer. Those of us who live near it also have concerns about future occupants and their impact on the neighborhood. Cheryl, I don’t disagree that firestations should be in the best condition possible, but the Station 37 crew is functioning effectively there now and, respectfully, I just don’t think this is the right time to be spending that much money when we simply don’t have it to spend. It’s easy to say you don’t mind footing this expense, but others may have different ideas about which expenses they don’t mind footing and we can’t support them all right now. Many of us are in ‘basic maintenance’ mode with our personal expenses these days and expect our local governments to do the same when their funds are short. This capital expenditure should wait until the economy turns around.

  • flowerpetal April 28, 2009 (1:28 pm)

    But it can’t wait, as stated above. Voters vote in a levy and it is carried out. We voted that we would be levied for that specific purpose. Did you ask the crew at that station if they were functioning effectively? I suspect not. The crew there knows that they do not have the equipment (because they lack the space to put it) to effectively do their job, which is to keep us safe and/or mitigate losses in West Seattle.

  • DRS April 28, 2009 (3:42 pm)

    Thanks, flowerpetal, but I do understand how levies work and that’s not my point. When we voted on this levy in 2003 we had no idea that, six years later, we would be facing huge budget deficits and scrambling to pay for basic services and maintenance. My point is that it’s unfortunate we’re spending that money on a new fire station now, at a time when we have greater needs. You’ve mentioned twice that Station 37 does not have the necessary equipment/space to do their job, but you’ve not provided any specifics–what specific and absolutely critical equipment do they not have? What specific and absolutely critical activities can they simply not perform at all right now? Could you please elaborate? In your own words, “I think not.” As far as the facility not being co-ed, there are other co-ed Seattle stations that can accommodate the job market for now. With more money, more space, more equipment and more everything else, I’m sure something could always be improved but, in the real world, those resources are not unlimited. I fully understand that it’s too late to delay this project–I’m just saying that it hasn’t ended up being the most fiscally responsible thing to do in 2009, despite our good intentions in 2003.

  • flowerpetal April 28, 2009 (4:40 pm)

    Your right DRS, we had no idea six years ago what the financial future would be and you and I agree that it is grim right now.
    The old fire station is not seismically stable. In the event of a significant earthquake the fire truck there and the back-up would likely be unable to depart the fire house. Even more dangerous; the firefighters would be at a risk higher than many of us would be in our houses. Also, that firehouse does not meet the required standards for responding to terrorist attacks. That house and some others in Seattle are being upgraded to meet that standard. Also, that firehouse does not have the space to store the equipment needed to respond first to some large hazardous spills. If there are several spills in the City after an earthquake, the service area for that house would be compromised. Lastly, there is only room for one truck and one back-up at that house which does not meet the recommended number for the area/population served. Is that elaboration enough?

  • lighthouse April 28, 2009 (4:40 pm)

    Fire Station 37, located at 7300 35th Avenue SW, houses one engine company and a reserve engine.
    At only 4,148 square feet, the station is too small to accommodate the operations required to support modern emergency response. Since the site is not large enough for an expanded station and alterations would compromise its historic character, a new station will be built on the southeast corner of 35th Avenue SW and SW Holden Street.

    Station 37 is the closest station to the several hundred new houses/condos/townhomes that have been built in the Highpoint area.
    My guess is that fire planners recognize that this station does not provide enough coverage to handle the increasing housing density in this area.
    If you read the PDFs for the historic status nomination (on the page linked above) you’ll see that the station is very cramped — they’ve converted store rooms to an exercise area, etc.

  • flowerpetal April 28, 2009 (4:42 pm)

    BTW, Council members Jan Drago and Jim Compton introduced the fire levy in 2003 and in Council member Compton’s remarks he states that we are facing a recession and still this levy needs to go forward. I was surprised to read that from six years ago.

  • flowerpetal April 28, 2009 (4:55 pm)

    Thanks lighthouse!

  • lighthouse April 28, 2009 (6:22 pm)

    Also note that the levy doesn’t just replace station 37, it does seismic and other updates on other stations, builds new training and emergency operations facilities, buys new fire boats, etc. It’s not just West Seattle that benefits from this levy.
    If you need a reminder of what you voted for or against, here’s the text from the voter’s pamphlet:
    And here’s the full measure text:
    And finally, here’s the city’s page about what is going on with the levy funds:
    I’m not associated in any way with the fire department. But I think fire/emergency levies are one of the few cases where we actually get our money’s worth and have no issues with these funds being spent in this way, even in a bad economy.

  • WSB April 28, 2009 (6:33 pm)

    Thanks for the enlightening discussion, all. We have reported on this project multiple times before (including the recent announcement that some other West Seattle work would be delayed, including the Station 32 replacement, by the budget woes) but have been a little too slammed today to jump in here – I learned something from the discussion, though, so I appreciate it … TR

  • DRS April 29, 2009 (10:10 am)

    flowerpetal and lighthouse, thanks for the information. All of what you’re saying makes sense and I’m really not opposed to having a new and better fire station–as a homeowner in the neighborhood, I appreciate the additional protection that the new facility will provide. I’m just distressed at the cost and timing but, regardless, it’s moving forward and I accept that. I only hope that the next use for the current building is something that will be good for the neighborhood, too.

  • WSB April 29, 2009 (10:18 am)

    One more note of interest on this discussion – I’ve been invited to be on a Seattle Channel talk show (taping tomorrow afternoon) to discuss the city budget and the general citizen buzz about it – so I’ll likely look for a chance to mention how this came up :) – TR

  • topofcity April 29, 2009 (6:09 pm)

    The planning and architects started 2 years ago and to stop the project will be a waste of a lot of funds. The present station will be 90 years old in 2010 and will not house present day fire apparatus. The current needs of earthquake preparation, hazardous chemicals contamination, and disease prevention where not a consideration when the fire house was built in 1925. The new station will serve our children and our community long after we are gone.

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