Local news

BNSF gives site for new fire station

BNSF Railway Co. donated about 4.5 acres to Northern Lakes Fire District for a new station in Rathdrum on Friday.

The existing station was built almost 30 years ago, when the fire district was staffed by volunteers and no one spent the night at the station.

“The station used to be a place where the volunteers just went and got their gear,” said Northern Lakes fire commissioner Larry Clark. “Now it’s a manned station.”

The donated land, appraised at $665,000, is just north of the station on Highway 53.

Clark said Northern Lakes has $800,000 to put toward a new $2 million station, which would have three or four bays, a dormitory, a kitchen and modern living facilities.

For the rest of the funding, fire officials are counting on impact fees: Kootenai County is considering adding fees of $1,583 per house on new construction. An advisory committee is reviewing the fees, Clark said.

If Kootenai County adopts the fees, local municipalities would have to agree to collect them.

“The city of Rathdrum would have to approve that. The county cannot collect a fee inside the city limits,” Clark said.

Northern Lakes has no other plans for fundraising.

“We hope the impact fees will pass,” Clark said. “We are trying to not raise taxes. If the impact fees don’t pass, we’ll have to go for a bond or a levy or something like that.”


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