new fire station

Cole Architects, commissioned by the city of Ketchum, has created this design for the planned new fire station along Saddle Road.

The Ketchum City Council passed on the forthcoming Ketchum fire station’s design-review application to the Planning and Zoning Commission in a 4-0 vote on Monday, effectively moving it along the construction pipeline.

The fire station site at a city-owned dirt lot north of the Wood River YMCA along Saddle Road was officially locked in last month following a 3-1 City Council vote on Dec. 16. Ketchum voters previously approved a bond measure to fund the $11.5 million, 14,500-square-foot building with a two-thirds majority in the Nov. 5 city election.

On Monday, Boise-based Cole Architects presented exterior renderings of the building to the public that depicted metal and wood siding and a black-brick theme.

According to blueprints from Cole Architects, the new facility will include four drive-through bays to accommodate the wider turns of ladder trucks, six dormitories, several offices and a large conference room.  

“We’re very appreciative of [Cole] working over the holidays, and I’m delighted with the work they’ve conducted thus far on the station,” Mayor Neil Bradshaw said Monday. “From here on out, it’ll be pedal to the metal.”

Prior to the bond election, 22 possible fire-station locations in Ketchum were evaluated, but city administrators ultimately found the dirt-lot site on Saddle Road best with its quick access to state Highway 75 and Warm Springs Road.

Councilman Michael David, however, expressed concern on Dec. 16 about recreational activities taking place in close proximity to the site—children using the adjacent skate park, for example—and was the lone dissenter in the vote.

“My concern is with [Fire Department] volunteers driving into what’s already a super dangerous area, especially in the summertime,” he said last month. “We need to watch out for our most vulnerable residents.”

Others who spoke at the lectern at the last City Council meeting echoed David’s concerns.

“You don’t need to be an expert to question the wisdom of placing a fire station within a child-play zone, not far from an intersection flanked by the YMCA and a day-care center,” St. Luke’s emergency physician Terry O’Connor said.

To address those safety concerns, the City Council approved a $10,600 contract Monday with Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM. The firm will assess all potential traffic and pedestrian hazards from the new development and come up with possible mitigation measures, a recent staff report stated. Since AECOM is already under contract with the city to evaluate traffic impacts associated with a proposed Marriott hotel, the existing contract was amended to include the Saddle Road site.

Starting this month, AECOM will analyze data from emergency calls and response times and conduct vehicular speed and traffic studies. Core focus areas will include the intersections of Lewis Street and Warm Springs Road and Saddle Road and Warm Springs Road.

The city for years has stated the need to build a new fire station, with the existing station at Ketchum City Hall deemed inadequate and out of date.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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