The city’s $9.6 million fire station is slated for completion in April but could run a little behind schedule because of utility and weather delays, according to the city.
The new building on the corner of 26th Street and Sealy Avenue will replace the station in the annex of city hall, but also serves as a cornerstone of the city’s efforts to revitalize the area north of Broadway, Mayor Jim Yarbrough said.
“The fire station is definitely a piece of the puzzle,” Yarbrough said. “You can see we’ve done several things from a public investment area in that area, one being the fire station.”
The project is using a portion of the $38.5 million of federal money for 2008 Hurricane Ike recovery efforts. The Galveston City Council approved the spending in November 2015.
The 20,000-square-foot annex behind city hall from which the fire department now works was previously scheduled for demolition in early February, city spokeswoman Marissa Barnett said.
The demolition probably won’t happen that soon, however, because of the project delays, Barnett said.
The fire department now occupies about 7,000 square feet of the annex space, which is shared with information technology, public works and some storage, Barnett said.
“The new fire station is an opportunity for us to grow,” Fire Chief Mike Wisko said.
Once the annex is torn down, the city will work on renovating city hall, Yarbrough said.
The land where the annex now sits will be converted to a parking lot and green space, he said.
The city is also in the midst of building a $10.8 million public works building and warehouse at 402 30th St. and 2804 Market St. Yarbrough expects public investment in downtown will stimulate development in the area north of Broadway, he said.
“You’re beginning to see public investment, which we think will encourage development in that area,” Yarbrough said.
The new station will add more office space and a training classroom, according to city spokespeople.
“We’ll have better storage and more space for equipment, and room for us to eat together between calls,” Wisko said. “We’ve always shared a headquarters and this will be our first stand-alone headquarters.”
The Galveston fire department lost about $175,000 in equipment at the current Station 1 on Sealy Avenue during Hurricane Ike, but all six stations retained damage, Barnett said.
Two of the six have been replaced with new buildings and three have undergone extensive remodeling, Barnett said.