Site of new fire station marked by Cape officials

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Ever since the sales tax to support the city's fire and police departments was proposed and ultimately approved, Cape Girardeau residents have wondered just where the new fire station No. 3 would be located. Proponents of the tax said it would be north of Blanchard Elementary School, but it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where.

That changed Monday afternoon when city officials unveiled a sign designating the exact location on North Sprigg Street.

"There is no doubt today where the fire station is going to be," said fire chief Rick Ennis.

The city has always known where, if not when, it was going to build a new fire station, the chief said. As the population of the city grew northward, city officials knew it was going to need to replace the station on Emerald Street. A parcel of land was available north of Bertling Street, which caught the attention of city and fire department leaders.

'Briars and brambles'

"They walked this site before Sprigg Street was even put in," Ennis said. "There were briars and brambles. They looked at the site knowing they would need it for a new fire station. Now we are here, and it's happening."

Mayor Jay Knudtson told a small gathering at the site that putting up a sign is a tangible way of showing the residents that the city is following through on what it said it would do with revenue generated from the new sales tax.

"We're here today to complete a vision," he said. "We had the vision; we just did not have the money."

The city has a site, now it is selecting architects, Ennis said.

Fourteen architects from as far away as Cincinnati responded to the city's request for proposals. Of those, six were selected as finalists. Two of those companies are from Cape Girardeau, Ennis said. The city is getting close to making a selection, Ennis said, but he could not say when a final choice would be made.

Building the new station is estimated to cost a little more than $2 million, Knudtson said. It will replace the current fire station on Emerald Street, and will also house the emergency operations department and the city's communications center.

"This is very much a part of our supporting the growth we have in the city, and will allow us to go to the next level in this area," Knudtson said.

Ennis said construction is expected to begin in the spring.

335-6611, extension 160

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