Kennewick is one step closer to the city's fifth fire station.
The city closed earlier last week on the sale of two properties on the corner of Kellogg Street and 10th Avenue.
When and how to pay for and build that fire station is something the Kennewick City Council will discuss this fall while working on the 2015-16 budget. An Oct. 28 budget workshop is planned.
The fifth fire station will improve response time in southwest Kennewick, said Fire Chief Neil Hines. It also will help the department better provide backup for other fire stations when the crews from those stations are out on calls, which is common.
"We are getting busier each and every year," Hines said.
The fire department's goal is to respond to emergency medical calls in four minutes and fires in five minutes. At the moment, travel time in southwest Kennewick is closer to eight minutes.
City officials looked at about 32 different properties within a half square mile of 10th Avenue and Kellogg Street. The property at 6004 W. 10th Ave. always was the city's top choice, but the owner wasn't willing to sell until just last year, Hines said.
The city bought the property for $400,000 this year.
A few neighbors of the proposed fifth fire station came to city council meetings to protest building a fire station there. But city officials also has received support from area residents.
Kennewick already had bought a one-story home and an acre at 5500 W. 10th Ave. last year for a new station, but the city wasn't able to buy the adjacent property needed to have enough land for a fire station. The cost was $275,750.
The city council recently discussed surplusing that property so it can be sold. The proposal will be brought to a regular Kennewick council meeting for further consideration.
The new fire station will be designed using a template created by the Kennewick and Richland fire departments. That template will be used by architects hired by the cities and lays out all of the pieces needed in a fire station, such as bunkrooms, a kitchen and a day room.
The design is for a 11,000-square-foot facility with four bays and living quarters for a minimum of six firefighter/emergency medical technicians and firefighter/paramedics, Hines said.
Having the template should help save time and expense when it comes to designing future stations, he said.
City officials plan to hold community meetings to update neighborhood residents as the process continues.
-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org