Vail Daily letter: ‘Yes’ for Eagle River Fire
Over the past eight years we have had the privilege of serving as board members for the Eagle River Fire Protection District. When we were elected, the board of directors were facing a number of challenges many of which have been or will be solved with the annual budgeting process. However, a critical strategic issue yet to be resolved is the inadequacy of two of our four fire stations.
The district inherited the Avon and Edwards fire stations when it consolidated in 2000. These two stations were built in the early ’80s as “volunteer stations.” Primarily due to age, functionality and in the case of Avon, location, both are inadequate for the current and future needs of our district. Built as primarily volunteer stations, they were not designed for the apparatus, the specialized equipment, such as wildland trucks, or have the living quarters needed to house our full-time professional firefighters who live in the stations when not responding to calls.
The Avon station evolved from the town’s original water department, has an abandoned water tank under one of the bays and is located in a very congested part of the town. The Edwards station has bays that are too small to house the number and size of equipment needed for this part of our district, has cramped living quarters and is deteriorating structurally. Of primary significance for both these stations is that the ladder truck will not fit into either of these stations, leaving this truck 15 to 20 minutes out from the Cordillera Station. Avon and Edwards are the most active stations in the district with over 50 percent of the call volume this last year.
Repetitive training and precise training are a necessity to the teams that respond from the district’s network of fire stations. A variety of simulated training scenarios, under realistic conditions, are required to assure the effectiveness of all our valley’s emergency response teams. We are asking the community to support a $25 million dollar bond to construct these two replacement stations, and a training facility that will serve the district’s needs well into the future.
Interest rates are very favorable and building costs continue to rise. The bond will be for 30 years and would cost the average homeowner less than $50 annually for a residence with an assessed value of $500,000. A “mail-in” ballot was posted last week to over 12,000 voters in our district. Please vote for Eagle River Fire “A” and return your ballot by May 3!
Jennifer Hays Cartmell
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