Kennewick may need to add three fire stations and update two others by 2025 for services to keep up with city growth.
The capital cost of the proposed projects could be around $24 million, the Kennewick City Council learned Tuesday.
The estimate includes equipment costs but does not reflect increased staffing needs and expenses.
Kennewick Fire Chief Neil Hines told the council that the city will need to add fire stations, equipment and firefighters as the city grows to be able to quickly respond to fire and emergency medical services calls.
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The city has adopted a goal of a five-minute travel time to a fire and a four-minute travel time for EMS calls, Hines said. For best coverage, fire stations should be about two to three miles apart.
The proposed fifth city fire station on 10th Avenue, remodels of two of the city's four existing stations and a joint fire administration center are tentatively planned for the next two years, Hines said.
Kennewick recently bought an acre at 5500 W. 10th Ave., and is trying to buy part of an adjacent property so there is enough room for a fifth station.
Hines said the proposed fifth station would better serve areas that do not currently meet travel time goals and would improve travel times for other areas when the closest station's crew is out on another call.
Three new positions at a cost of about $400,000 a year would need to be added with the fifth station, Hines said.
It's also time for a joint fire administration center between Kennewick and Richland fire departments and Benton fire districts 1 and 4 to find a permanent home.
The shared fire administration center at a leased building was a three-year test that is in its fifth year, Hines said.
Benton Fire District 1 has offered to put up the $1.1 million bond needed to build the joint administration center. Paying the debt service for the center will not cost the city any more than the current lease payment, he said.
Land hasn't been identified yet, but Hines said officials are considering building near Benton County Emergency Services.
Two of the city's fire stations at West Sixth Avenue and Auburn Street and at 7400 W. Quinault Ave. were built in the 1970s and need to be remodeled or replaced to improve response time, comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards and accommodate mixed-gender crews, Hines said.
The proposed sixth and seventh city fire stations likely wouldn't be built until 2020 and 2025, but Hines said determining where to build should happen soon while the areas are still relatively undeveloped.
A joint project between Kennewick and Benton Fire District 1 could relocate District 1's station on 27th Avenue farther east, which would help both agencies improve response times, Hines said. District 1's station on 27th is only about a mile from a Kennewick fire station, also on 27th.
Near 45th Avenue and Oak Street would be a good location, although land has not been identified, he said.
A seventh city fire station also would be needed in Southridge because of the city's current and projected growth to the south, Hines said. That station likely should be near Center Parkway and Ridgeline Drive.
The proposed sixth and seventh stations would need a minimum of 12 new positions each, Hines said.
City Manager Marie Mosley said a blue ribbon committee will make recommendations to the council on priorities and funding options.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org