City moves forward with plans to replace Lindenwald fire station

HAMILTON — The City of Hamilton is in the planning and design phases for the new fire station that will ultimately replace Station 26 located on Laurel Avenue in Lindenwald, according to Hamilton Fire Chief Mark Mercer.

Mercer said existing fire station plans and visits to other regional stations have been made to make the best recommendations.

“The plans are not finalized, but the plan to include room for the engine company, a potential full-time medic unit and room for future growth and on-site training is included,” Mercer said.

The Lindenwald fire station has served Hamilton since 1910, and Mercer said the building has had its fair share of renovations.

“Over the past few years, extensive repairs have been made to extend the life of the station,” Mercer said. “The new station will be modern and appropriate for our changing workforce as well as the growth of Hamilton Fire Department’s call volume.”

Scott Scrimizzi, the City of Hamilton’s Executive Director of Public Safety, focused on the side of safety in terms of replacing the Lindenwald fire station. Scrimizzi said several years of data analysis identified the best location for a new station to be on Route 4, between Grand Boulevard and Bobmeyer Road.

“The current station on Laurel Avenue is well over 100 years old and houses one fire engine with a cross-staffed medic unit,” Scrimizzi said. “It was built for horse-drawn pumps, not ADA compliant, has no separate facilities for female firefighters, and has several maintenance issues that include the bay floor losing its integrity.”

Earlier this year, the city purchased 1990 South Erie Hwy. to locate the new station which is within the ideal location per a Geographic Information System (GIS) study.

The current design, according to Scrimizzi, includes four pull-through bays — which the current station has two back-in-only bays. The city purchased the adjacent property, the old Rally’s, at 1796 S. Erie Hwy.

“Our desire is to staff this station upon opening with an engine company and a full-time medic unit,” said Scrimizzi, who added that the goal is to select a construction team with a guaranteed maximum price to build the station by the end of the year.

“If approved by city council, we could start construction in the first quarter of 2023 with a 12-month build time,” Scrimizzi added.

Mercer said the ability for the new station to service a broader spectrum of the city is based on response times and balancing the station’s duties.

“It is important to realize that Station 26 serves not only Lindenwald, but also the Southwest Ohio Industrial District (SOID) on the city’s southeast corner as well as the fourth and seventh wards of the city,” Mercer said. “Much of that area lies east of the CSX rail line that runs parallel to Dixie Highway and Zimmerman Avenue.

“Our fire companies fulfill several emergency missions, primarily emergency medical calls and calls for structure fires,” Mercer added. “The need to locate them is based on best response times for those duties and balancing those duties among the other resources of the city. In the case of structure fires, the need to provide not only fast response for the first engine company, but also support for fire-ground operations which are completed by the second- and third- arriving companies.”

Mercer said the city team has met with CSX railroad to discuss the importance of maintaining open railroad crossing, whenever possible, and to make every effort going forward to design dispatch procedures to address concerns.

“Concerns from the citizens included changing response times to areas of Lindenwald as well as the impact of blocked rail crossings, especially for emergency medical response,” Mercer said. “To address these, we engaged our city’s GIS team to suggest the best locations for the station taking into account response times for EMS calls, the need to respond to and support firefighting operations based on 3- and 5-year historic call locations, and all potential address points.

“When we considered every city resident and business, the best locations were identified on the east side of the CSX rail line, and suggested locations ranged from the area of Grand Boulevard and Dixie Highway to the area of Dixie Highway and Bobmeyer Road,” Mercer added. “Taking into consideration that range, suitable and available property, and the timeline of beginning the project a midpoint was chosen at 1990 South Erie. While the full data set is extensive, the bubble maps and hotspot maps are included for the two suggested locations

“We will be working to include technology to provide rail information to responding fire apparatus, and the planned location provides opportunities for four crossings which can be used,” Mercer continued. “Those include Belle Avenue, Laurel Avenue, the Jim Blount Overpass at SHX and the underpass on Dixie Highway near Bishop Avenue. The latter two are not subject to being closed. With each of these, secondary units are dispatched from areas that are not affected by rail crossings.”

As the city looks to reorganize services, each of these decisions is long-lasting, Mercer said.

“The relocation fills existing service gaps and provides facilities which are modern and appropriate for the workforce and the mission of the department,” Mercer said. “The location and planned facility provide for growth in emergency response as well as non-emergency functions of the department, with some room available for training operations such as an off-street site for pump operations and hose line training.”

Within the next couple of weeks, according to Scrimizzi, the design-build method for the pricing and construction of the station will be narrowed down.

“We selected CDA as our design criteria architect,” Scrimizzi said. “We are in the very early stages of this process. We recently received six firms that submitted RFPs to construct the station.”

The Lindenwald Ledger is a content partner of the Journal-News. Follow @LWaldLedger on Twitter for daily updates about Lindenwald.

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