MARION — After years of anticipation and planning, city leaders will break ground on a new fire station in Marion on Wednesday at noon.
The new fire station — being built at 100 Irish Drive on the southwest corner of Tower Terrace Road and Irish Drive — is expected to keep Marion’s response times within the national standard for fire and medical service emergency response times. The facility is expected to be placed in service in October 2020.
Once the fire station is up and running, the stations will be renumbered to alleviate confusion about where administrative offices for the department are located.
The new fire station and headquarters on Tower Terrace Road will become Fire Station No. 1. Station No. 1 at 600 Eighth Ave. will become Station No. 3. Station No. 2 at 3933 Katz Drive will remain as it is.
Marion Fire Station No. 2 went into service in 1991 to serve a community of 20,000. Today, Marion needs a third fire station to serve a community that has doubled in population.
The city purchased the land last year for about $1 million, setting aside local-option sales tax dollars for the project. The rest of the funds will come from general obligation bonds. The total project is expected to cost about $7.2 million, city manager Lon Pluckhahn told The Gazette.
Six firefighters have been hired since the report and three more full-time positions will be added this year.
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A new medic vehicle will be purchased for the third fire station. The fire department already has enough fleet vehicles and other major equipment to handle the new station, Pluckhahn said.
The physical and mental well-being of Marion’s firefighters is at the heart of the facility’s two-story design. It will incorporate biophilia design elements — or nature features — decontamination and training areas, as well as the department’s administrative offices.
Fire Chief Deb Krebill told The Gazette there will be natural wood ceilings, water features or plant walls.
An accreditation study in 2015 showed that Marion needs four fire stations, with the last one near Highway 13 and 35th Avenue. There is no timeline for the fourth fire station.
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