Construction begins for new Edwards firehouse, designed to last 50 years | VailDaily.com

Construction begins for new Edwards firehouse, designed to last 50 years

EDWARDS — Work on the newest Edwards firehouse started at 8:30 a.m. on a clear, frosty Monday, Sept. 25.

They started as soon as possible during the day because they have work to do, said local firefighters with the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

Groundbreaking for the new Edwards firehouse saw about 50 people gather.

Voters approved $25 million

Midvalley voters agreed to a $25 million property tax increase to build two new public safety structures:

• $12 million for the fire district's combined fire/police facility in Avon.

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• $13 for the Tract K firehouse in Edwards.

The Edwards building will be 19,000 square feet and stand 38 feet high. Architect Will Bussard said the new Edwards fire station is designed so it could be expanded, if it needs to be.

"Fire stations represent a community's investment in the safety and well-being of its citizens," Chief Karl Bauer told the crowd during the morning groundbreaking on Monday. "This new fire station — Station 12 — will become part of a larger campus dedicated to the protection of life and property.

"We are not only grateful for the community's support, but keenly aware of our responsibility, in partnership with Eagle County Paramedics and Vail Mountain Rescue, and, indeed, all of our allied agencies, to protect all equally and unhesitatingly and do all that we must to ensure we remain ready to serve."

The Edwards structure that's coming down was supposed to be a temporary station when it opened in 1985. The new station is designed to last more than 50 years and will accommodate a dual company station. That includes eight firefighters capable of responding with two trucks to simultaneous calls.

It will also include a training facility. For now, Dotsero is the closest training facility. The next closest is in Summit County.

No other approvals needed

Because it's a governmental entity, the fire district does not have to slog through Eagle County's county planning and approval process or meetings with the county's planning commission and board of county commissioners. Under Colorado law, the only approval the fire district needs is a majority vote by its own board.

The fire district looked at 26 sites before settling on a combination of Tract K and the Edwards ambulance district site. The fire district bought Tract K in Edwards from local real estate developer Rick Mueller.

The last time Tract K was in the public's consciousness, Mueller was trying to donate it to Habitat for Humanity for the nonprofit homebuilder to construct condominiums. That proposal was shot down by Eagle County's Board of County Commissioners.

Over the years, Tract K has seen at least seven development proposals come and go. Now it's home to the Eagle River Fire Protection District's newest station. Eagle River Fire Protection District's coverage area is 186 square miles, from Tennessee Pass to Minturn on U.S. Highway 24, and west along U.S. Highway 6 and Interstate 70 to Wolcott.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.