Eagle River fire district plan takes big step forward
EDWARDS — A local fire district took a big step Monday toward building $25 million in new facilities.
The Eagle River Fire Protection District board voted unanimously to move forward with its new Edwards station and training facility. The plan is slightly less grand than the original which was unveiled during a Feb. 22 public meeting.
The plan approved Monday:
• Reduces the square footage 20 percent (4,000 square feet) from 23,000 to 19,000 square feet.
• Reduces the height by 15 percent, from 44 feet to 38 feet.
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Being good neighbors
The downsizing followed input from about 45 people during the February meeting.
Chief Karl Bauer said district officials are listening, and they intend to be good neighbors.
“It’s important for us to know what the community thinks about those changes,” Bauer said.
The fire district hosted an open house Feb. 22 to give voters their first look at what they’d be buying for the $25 million raised from increased property taxes.
It was lost on no one that the meetings to discuss the fire district’s new permanent home were held in a temporary structure the fire district has been using since 1985.
The $25 million in new tax revenue will be spent on:
• $12 million for the fire district’s combined fire and police facility in Avon.
• $13 million for a new fire station in Edwards, as well as the training facility on the Eagle County Paramedic Services site in Edwards.
Architect Will Bussard said the new Edwards fire station is designed so it could be expanded if it needs to be.
They’ll figure out where to put administrators, Bauer said. Right now, this facility is about operations.
“We want to focus on operations as our biggest need,” Bauer said.
They’re also giving the tower a slightly more residential look.
No smoke, no fire
They’re not going to set anything on fire in their training tower. Any smoke will be theater smoke, which does not smell and dissipates quickly, Bauer said.
Besides the size of the fire station, the training tower was the only thorn in the process. A few wanted it moved. Others said it was ugly and does not match the fire station; that it felt like an industrial building and looked similar to a parking garage.
Still others wanted the tower to be reduced in height.
In honoring another request, they moved it as far east as it can go and still get trucks and other apparatus around it, said Todd Goulding with Goulding Development Advisors. They’ll also screen the building with landscaping and trees, Goulding said.
Most of the money will stay local. The architect firm is based in Denver, but has an office in Eagle County. Goulding Development Advisors is a local firm, as is Evans Chaffee, the local construction company who will build the facilities.
There is at least one more chance for the public to comment on the plan before it moves further ahead.
You can still comment
The fire district must apply to Eagle County for what’s called a Location and Extent application. The application will be reviewed by both county staff and the Eagle County Planning Commission.
That meeting will be an open hearing where the public can participate.
The Board of County Commissioners is not involved in the review.
The fire district looked at 26 sites in the area before settling on a combination of this site — called Tract K — and the Edwards ambulance district site. The fire district bought Tract K from local real estate developer Rick Mueller in 2016. The sale was contingent on voters passing the tax, which they did on May 3, 2016. The sale closed in June.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.