New Vail Valley fire station on hold indefinitely
AVON – Plans to build a new fire station in Avon have been put on hold.
The Eagle River Fire Protection District, which plans to build the station, says it is facing the prospect of declining funds in years to come.
In January, the district closed on a 2.07-acre property on the corner of Nottingham and Buck Creek roads for the new station. It had reached an agreement to buy the land in 2008, and construction was supposed to start this year.
But the district now expects tax revenues to drop by 20 percent starting in 2012.
“That’s the single biggest reason,” said Ed O’Brien, chairman of the board of the district, which has six stations and covers Avon, Edwards, Eagle-Vail, Minturn, Red Cliff, Cordillera, Bachelor Gulch, Arrowhead and Wolcott.
Another reason is that recently approved impact fees – which are levied on new construction – are not expected to bring in much revenue because local construction has slowed significantly, O’Brien said.
As a result, the fire station, which was envisioned as a “hub” station that would cover not only Avon but also surrounding communities, won’t be built for at least a few years, he said.
“We’re on hold until we see what really is going to happen,” O’Brien said, adding that the station will be built eventually.
The district – in concert with Oscar Tang’s Tanavon Corp., the owner of the adjacent land, where a science school and homes are planned – will proceed with underground utility, water and sewer work, commencing in the next few days. The district’s share of the cost of that work is $300,000.
The district acquired the land from Tanavon Corp. for $3.8 million, paying for it with a lease-purchase arrangement. It had previously targeted a property across the street to build the station, filing court papers to begin a condemnation effort. Jim Pavelich, the owner of that land, objected to the move, saying he would fight it in court.
The district ended up abandoning the condemnation effort and buying the land from Tang instead.
Fire officials have envisioned a station that was at least 18,000 square feet in size – twice the size of the current station – with dorms for resident firefighters.
The fire district has outgrown the current Avon station near Town Hall, fire officials said. The station also is in a congested area with winding streets that slow response times, officials said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or email@example.com.