Loveland, Ohio – The City and the Loveland Symmes Fire Department are exploring options for re-locating Fire Station 63 currently located in Historic Downtown on Second Street. It houses an engine company, a ladder company, and a medic unit. Station 63 is also home to Loveland’s original horse drawn steamer.
The focus group will meet on Monday August 24 to review a “Fire Station 63 Relocation Report” prepared by MSA Design. You can review the report HERE. The report was paid for from “Fire Funds” at a cost of $12,000.
The report recommends locating a new Station 63 at 227 East Loveland Avenue.
Two other locations were studied, one at the corner of Oakland Road and Founders Drive, and the other on a street that may or may not be built connecting Oakland Road to O’Bannonville Road. Both of these alternate locations would have been on a portion of property if the Loveland City School District had purchased land from Grailville for new school buildings. The report says that since the exact locations that might be available for the construction of a new station at Gralville are unknown at this time, neither of these alternate options were studied in great detail.
In the executive summary of their report MSA says in part”
“The Department has been working out of a facility in downtown Loveland for many years. Over time, the suitability of this location has been compromised by increased traffic near the station. Additionally, a great deal of redevelopment has been going on in downtown Loveland, making the current station site a potential economic development opportunity. The construction of a new station would also allow the Department to adjust the size and layout to better serve their needs now and into the future.”
The site proposed for a new facility is east of its current location, at 227 East Loveland Avenue. The site consists of two parcels, one of which is already owned by the Loveland Firefighters Association, while the other is owned by City taxpayers. The Firefighters Association’s parcel houses an existing meeting hall (Fraternal Order of Moose Lodge) while the City resident’s parcel houses the Fire Department’s fire training tower, a public works facility and parking with access to outdoor recreational facilities including the East Loveland Nature Preserve.
MSA’s report says that a new Station 63 could be constructed on the East Loveland Avenue site for between 5 and 5.8 million dollars ($300 – $350 per s.f.) in today’s dollars. MSA notes the fact that these numbers are given in 2020 dollars and that should be considered when budgeting for a future project.
City Manager Dave Kennedy told Loveland Magazine today that if a new station is built it will be paid for using the City’s Fire Fund. He anticipates that the City will sell bonds, and he does not anticipate a tax increase to pay off the bonds.
Members of the Fire Station 63 Relocation Focus Group are, Kathleen Eldredge, Allison Ellis, and Larry Flynn. Also in the group is LSFD Captain Bruce Hawk, representing the fire department, Councilmen Andy Bateman and Ted Phelps representing City Council, and City Manager Dave Kennedy representing City staff.
Kennedy said, “The Firefighter Association owns (part of) the land, They have indicated that if the City desires to build a fire station on that site they would donate the property to the city as they did the property to build the salt dome, the fire tower, and the nature trail parking lot. In the end the City of Loveland would own all of the land and all improvements provided the committee recommends and the City choses that site.”
The current fire station sits on part of the land from the old City Hall and fire station that was destroyed in a fire in the early 1970’s and is owned by the City of Loveland
Kennedy said about the current fire station, “Returning the property to commercial use could be a possibility or council could choose another public use. At the end of the day the highest best use for the city with all factors considered would be presented to council.” He added that the proceeds of any sale of the current station and property, “would go back to the fund that was utilized to construct the Fire Station which was the fire fund.”
Kennedy added, “The current fire station is nearly 50 years old and was built to accommodate our volunteer fire department at that time. The Fire Station was built after the city hall and fire station was destroyed by fire in the early 1970’s. Operating out of the fire station is challenging for today’s modern fire service with on duty career firefighters. The station doesn’t provide quick access to apparatus and is challenging to respond from because of location and size of the front apron. Fire apparatus barley fits into the facility and is often damaged due to the size of the garage doors. The station doesn’t have safety and health features that are necessary for the hazards facing firefighters today.”
The City Manager was asked, however did not offer an estimate of when a recommendation might be forwarded to City Council or an estimate of when construction might start if they do.