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Land bought for new station

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has purchased land at the southern end of the city, where it plans to move a fire station currently located in a modified house.

On Friday, the department finalized a $205,000 purchase at 3111 S. Whipple Road. It also is negotiating for another piece of land that would allow the department to build a full-sized station there, said Fire Chief Mike Thompson.

Eventually, the new station – with room for two fire engines – will replace the one at 16th Avenue and Bowdish Road and move firefighters closer to the growing southern part of Spokane Valley.

“Property just isn’t getting any cheaper, and we have to act while we can,” said fire Commissioner Joe Dawson.

How soon the station is built will depend on how soon the department can acquire the needed funding.

“None of us wants to go for a bond issue right now,” Dawson said, though he added that he can’t rule out the possibility.

Fire commissioners have just starting working on the budget for next year.

The department built station No. 8 without any indebtedness, Dawson said, and the department’s existing revenues may cover the cost of construction.

Fire officials also are looking at upgrading and moving other facilities.

“We have areas that take us longer to get into than other areas,” Dawson said.

The next property acquisition likely will be in Liberty Lake, Thompson said. With that city’s growth, the department is considering relocating its station on Harvard Road to a site south of Interstate 90, he said.

In Greenacres, another fire station in a converted residence could be replaced on the same site, using adjacent land owned by the department.

The Spokane River, a railroad corridor and Interstate 90 all pose challenges when looking for the best places to build stations, said Assistant Chief Larry Rider.

While accounting for bridges and the street grid, the department usually tries to keep stations within a three-mile drive of each other, he said.

The department also is going to need a new headquarters for its administrative offices.

Department officials have held preliminary discussions with Spokane Valley about locating the headquarters in a proposed Spokane Valley City Center.

Rider said that will depend on the city’s timing aligning with the department’s timing.

“We’re just hoping that our needs and their plan come together at the same time,” he said.