SIDNEY — A third fire station for the city of Sidney moved a step closer to reality Monday night when Sidney City Council approved a contract for purchase of land on Wapakoneta Avenue.
The property, located at 2401 Wapakoneta Ave., is currently under contract for purchase by the city. Council has been discussing the feasibility of purchasing the approximately 12.5 acres of land for the future site of the fire department for several months.
When presenting the resolution to council and recommending the adoption for the agreement to purchase, Law Director/Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Amick said, “In May 2016, council expressed its desire to purchase approximately 12.5 acres of land for use in connection with a future capital improvement project benefiting the residents of the city … This resolution, if adopted, will ratify and approve the subject contract and allow the purchase of the subject property to proceed to closing … There were discussions in May and in July, but there has been no formal actions in relation to those discussions.”
The resolution was unanimously adopted by council.
Fire Chief Brad Jones said Tuesday morning he is extremely pleased with the purchase of the land.
“I think it’s set to close the first week of August,” said Jones of the purchase.
The land, said Jones, includes the white pillar house and all the property from the house north to the next house on the street.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to do with the house,” said Jones.
And the next step in the process of making the substation a reality?
“City administration, with the permission of council, will look toward the future and how they plan to set aside funds for the brick and mortar of the building,” said Jones. “It’s not going to happen by Aug. 31. It may be a two to four year process.”
Council had discussed the need for a fire station to better serve the needs of the industries, businesses and residences of Sidney for several years. In early May, property became available that computer modeling indicated would be ideal for that purpose.
“Council’s progressive decision to secure property has successfully positioned the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to address customer service needs,” Jones said in a statement released after the meeting. “While planning for current and expected industrial and residential growth, city administration identified a necessity to reinforce our current response configurations and focus on potential future needs.”
“A strategically positioned north end station will reduce response times for medical and fire incidents in the north end,” Jones said. “The north end station will also strengthen our organization’s ability to address the emergency response needs of the entire community.”
“The need for a third fire station, located in the northern portion of Sidney, was identified more than two decades ago,” Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst. “At council’s biennial retreat in February, city council prioritized its goals and listed the continued development of collaborative efforts with regional partners for new fire station as one of the eight priorities to be undertaken during the next two years.”
“We have needed a north end fire station for years,” property owner Anne Link said “I was delighted to learn that the city of Sidney was interested in the property on which Ed and I raised our family. Ed spent his career helping to heal lives as a physician. Knowing that the property will be used as a fire station — a base for others who help to heal lives pleases me, and I’m sure, would have pleased him.”
“This is the first of several steps we will be taking to reach the final goal,” City Manager Mark Cundiff said. “We do not have the necessary resources to either build or staff a third fire station at this time. However, council realizes that the desired property is available now, and may not be in the future. From a long-term planning perspective, it makes good sense to purchase the property, and continue the planning process.”