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October 26, 2004 > Fremont's Measure R Fire Safety Bond Update

Fremont's Measure R Fire Safety Bond Update

by Linda Stone

Measure R, the Fire Safety Bond approved by the voters in 2002, was presented as a way to finance necessary fire station improvements in the city of Fremont, including replacing three stations and retrofitting existing stations.

All of Fremont's fire stations require seismic strengthening to remain operational during and after a severe earthquake. In addition, the older stations are in need of interior remodeling and in some cases building additions to properly house current staff, programs and equipment. That effort is now underway for several fire stations.

Three fire stations will be replaced; Station #2 on 2nd Street in Niles, Station #6 on Fremont Boulevard in Centerville and Station #8 on Darwin Drive in North Fremont.

Station #2 will be rebuilt either on the existing property or at a new location in Niles.

The city is currently working with the property owner on eminent domain procedures for a new Station #6. On October 26 the city council will hold a Necessity for Acquisition public hearing. The property owner of the land parcel on Central Avenue and Dusterberry Way has expressed concerns regarding future parking for trucks that that currently use the lot. Interim Fire Chief Bill Reykalin feels that the location is of great benefit to the city. "We can serve the needs of the community from that location very well, and the size of the property will meet our needs now, and for the next 50 years, said Reykalin.

The city council has approved a plan to move Station #8. The new station will be located on a parcel across from the Brookvale shopping center. This move will improve emergency response coverage and be more geographically centered for the area served.

The fire department is working with the city's traffic engineers to employ an Opticon system that would control traffic lights at intersections. On a Code 3 response - lights and sirens - fire equipment will be able to "load on" to the street effectively. "It will allow us to move safely into traffic," said Reykalin. "We will phase in the traffic controls starting with the stations facing the highest traffic congestion. They will be used by police, fire and ambulance."

Station # 7, the training center located on Grimmer Boulevard, will also receive benefits from the bond measure. Modern classrooms, a fire tower, a driving course and other training facilities will be built. Living quarters will also be expanded. All firefighters are required to complete over 120 hours of state and federal mandated training every year, so this updated center will be a welcome addition.

Station # 4 on Pine Street, #5 on Hackamore Lane and # 9 on Stevenson Place, will be refurbished and retrofitted to meet current earthquake safety standards.

All of the Measure R projects are expected to be completed by 2008.

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