Renovation work on Fire Station #5 along Ruston Way should be underway by this fall. The project is part of Tacoma Fire Department’s plan to establish a joint facility for police and fire on the waterfront. A portion of the existing pier and piles will be removed and a new float system and gangway will be installed. Structural improvements to the existing building and pier structure will be done and the station will be remodeled. A new apparatus bay will be added.
The project has a price tag of $4.1 million. In 2009 the city issued bonds that will cover $3 million of the cost. The remainder comes from a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.
An update on the project was given during the April 26 meeting of Tacoma City Council’s Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee.
The project is in the final stages of design and permitting. The council is being asked to approve an amendment to a contract with the firm Reid Middleton for additional services. Josh Clarke from the Public Works Department said the amount of the structure that will be over water will increase, which affects the permitting process. The existing contract is $411,105. The amendment would add $57,374. This will cover ground improvement design, mitigation planning, site monitoring planning and bid assistance.
Public Works Director Dick McKinley discussed the condition of the dock. He said that when the council approved the project in 2009 it faced two choices – tear it down or renovate it – and noted it chose the latter.
Councilmember Victoria Woodards pointed out that the money for this project is already budgeted.
The building will not be staffed on a full-time basis. When asked about this, interim Fire Chief James Duggan said there are no plans to staff it in the near future. When the fireboat is needed, crews from other stations would be sent to Fire Station #5. Not all firefighters are trained to operate the boat. He noted that sometimes off-duty officers who live near the waterfront are called to report to duty when the fireboat needs to be called into service.
“The easiest solution is to staff it full time,” Duggan remarked.
The council will vote on the contract amendment in May or June. The city will advertise for construction bids in July. It plans to award the contract in August and to begin construction in September.