The photo above is Fire Station 63 In Historic Downtown Loveland

Loveland, Ohio – A Fire Station 63 Relocation Focus Group has been meeting to determine the best site to re-locate the fire station in Historic Downtown and has concluded that the City should build a new firehouse at the site of the old Masonic Temple on East Loveland Avenue.

MSA Design was contracted by the City of Loveland to conduct a study of needs at the current station and search for a possible new location.

When the Focus Group was formed, there was a primary site for the new station that they looked at, that being 227 East Loveland Avenue which is already owned proportionally by the Loveland Symmes Fire Fighters Association and the City of Loveland. The rear portion of the property is also the site of a fire training tower. According to a memo to the committee from City Manager Dave Kennedy on May 20, the “primary drawbacks to the location are that a large portion of the property rests in the floodplain, it is not a flat site, requires a retaining wall and would not facilitate drive-through bays for emergency vehicles.”

The Loveland Moose Lodge is located at 227 East Loveland Avenue. This is also where a fire training tower is located. When the Focus Group was formed, this was the primary site for the new station that they looked at
The fire training tower at 227 East Loveland Avenue.

Two other possible sites sites were evaluated, one on Oakland Road and one at Grailville on O’Bannonville Road.

The preferred property at 220 East Loveland, is currently owned by the Firefighters Association, and was the former home of the Masonic Lodge #258.

MSA Design says in their report about the two East Loveland Avenue sites, “There are pros and cons to each of the two sites. While either site could be used for a new Station 63, it is MSA’s opinion that the newly studied site at 220 E. Loveland Avenue would be the best option as it eliminates the possibility of damage from flooding.”

The former Masonic Temple site is the preferred location for a new fire station. This is the front of the current building from 220 East Loveland Avenue.

The report goes on to say about the Masonic Temple site, “While the size of the property is less than 227 East Loveland, it has two primary advantages; 1) It is not located in the floodplain and 2) It would provide for drive-through bays as the rear of the property abuts O’Bannon Avenue. Also, the site is flat, will not require construction of a retaining wall, and is a further distance from potential visibility issues which occur with westbound vehicular traffic on East Loveland approaching the East Loveland bridge.”

The rear of the Masonic Temple site as seen from O’Bannon Avenue. Vehicles returning from runs would be able to access the bays from the rear of the station

Jumping ahead to the conclusion, the study indicates that both sites are acceptable for the new station. Although both sites are acceptable, and the cost per square feet are proportionate, the advantage of constructing outside of the floodplain, utilizing O’Bannon Avenue for vehicles returning from runs and accessing the bays from the rear of the station, results in Masonic Temple site being preferred for the relocation of Fire Station 63.

MSA’s concept of how a new fire station would fit on the Masonic Temple site.

Another option that MSA Design looked at earlier was to tear down the current fire station and re-build on the existing site.

The assessment of Station 63 completed in October of 2020 was:

  1. St. 63 is well maintained with exception of the roof- needs replaced due to leaks.
  2. Code/Ada issues due to its usability and functionality
  3. Overhead doors are 11×12 and considered small for firehouse doors. (This limits the equipment size to order (standard size vs. custom orders)
  4. 14×14 is typical size of new fire station bay doors
  5. Size of bay also an issue: low ceiling and only 3-4 feet between parked vehicles
  6. Living quarters are upstairs; typical firehouses have living quarters on same floor as vehicles
  7. A new station would have bedrooms on the 1st floor with no stairs for fire personnel to go up/down for runs.
  8. This would increase the turnaround time to get to vehicles as well
  9. New code for stairs: 7-inch rise and 11-inch tread. Current St. 63 stairs are 8-inch rise and 10-inch tread.
  10. Equipment/bunker gear also needs to be stored in separate rooms due to wear by diesel fuel fumes and UV light. Currently, at St. 63 all equipment and bunker gear is stored in the bay with the vehicles.
  11. ADA requirements due to firehouse being a government facility need wheelchair access, which it currently does not have.
  12. Elevator would be expensive to install
  13. ADA also requires a storm shelter which would also be expensive to install
  14. Any renovations done to the building means it would need to be brought up to current codes. Currently, the building is grandfathered in.
  15. Current site is too small. A new building would mean no on-site parking.

It is MSA’s opinion that a single-story substation solution could be achieved on the site at 220 E. Loveland Avenue for, “$2.9 – $3.4 million ($335 – $390 per s.f.) in today’s dollars not including soft costs. It is MSA’s opinion that the cost of building at 227 E. Loveland Avenue as previously studied would be $5.5 – $6.5 million ($330 – $385 per s.f.) in today’s dollars plus soft costs.”

Kennedy told Loveland Magazine today, “I will say that the ability to have rear entry into the station is critical as one of the problems that plaques the current station is exiting and entering the station.”

Kennedy said he plans to make a presentation to Council at their second meeting in July.

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