116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — The new Marion fire station’s opening has been delayed at least one month.
The fire station, which will be Marion’s third, now is set to open in mid-June. Previously the goal was to have the station open in May.
During a Marion City Council work session Tuesday, Fire Chief Deb Krebill gave an update on the construction project, which already faced challenges from the pandemic and last year’s derecho.
“The last time I spoke with all of you, I told you we would be there in May, and it’s May and we’re not in there,” Krebill told the council.
Krebill said there has been trouble getting some building materials — a common problem for construction projects nationwide.
About 71 percent of contractors reported at least one type of material shortage at the end of 2020, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The most reported material shortage was lumber.
Krebill said a change in management for Christner Construction, the Ottumwa company building the $10.3 million station, also contributed to the delay.
“Some of the new materials we need to finish it off had to be reordered,” Krebill said. “They will not be shipped until June.”
Once complete, the site will be Marion’s first new station since 1991, when the city’s population was around half what it is today.
The new station, at 1000 Irish Dr., will be named Fire Station 1 and become the department’s headquarters. The current Fire Station 1, at 600 Eighth Ave., will be renamed Fire Station 3. The current headquarters is at Fire Station 2, 3933 Katz Dr.
The third station will move the city one step closer to meeting the needs of its growing population. A 2015 accreditation study found that the city needs four fire stations, with the fourth being located near Highway 13 and 35th Avenue.
The city still is looking for land for a fourth station. Last summer, the Marion City Council approved buying land for $1.1 million for a fourth station. The city budgeted $400,000 for the project while the Marion Firefighters Association would cover the other $695,000, largely through a trust.
But before papers were signed to take over Tri State Towers property at 2957 Highway 13, the derecho hit and caused extensive damage to the property, so the city backed out of the purchase.
Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly said waiting one more month for the new station isn’t a big deal.
“As much as we’re anxious to have it be done and see you all moved in,” AbouAssaly said to Krebill at the meeting. “One more month isn’t going to hurt anybody.”
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