2 San Diego City Council members seek funding for Skyline fire station

SAN DIEGO - Two San Diego City Council members asked Monday for funding for a temporary fire station in Skyline, one of the areas identified as underserved in a consultant report three years ago.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald, speaking at a meeting of the council's Infrastructure Committee, said she understood a temporary station would cost about $400,000.

A temporary station in Mission Valley was used for several years before a permanent firehouse was built.

In a report by CityGate Associates three years ago, six neighborhoods in San Diego were listed as having the highest priority for a new fire station, with Skyline ranking fourth.

Emerald's comments came during a discussion about a proposed $120 million infrastructure bond issue for next year.

Revenue from the bond sale would provide $1 million for designing a permanent station for Skyline, but construction funding would have to come later.

"We need not just design, but we need design-build money for that, because we have a need for a permanent (station)," said Councilwoman Myrtle Cole. "It's hard to tell my constituents that we're not going to get one built, or it's going to be delayed, but other areas will get facilities, repairs, and beautification when we need (a fire station) in our district."

The bond issue proposed for next year would also include $2 million for acquiring land and designing a new station on Home Avenue in the Mid-City area -- the top priority in the CityGate report.

Frank DeClercq, president of the firefighters union, suggested using plans for one- or two-story fire stations.

"They do this in many cities, I don't know why we seem in San Diego always need to reinvent the wheel," DeClercq said. "We really need to not design and engineer every station brand new again. I think we've got a plan, and I think it could be a cookie cutter as long as we've got the proper size lot."

City staffers said about $5 million from previous bond issues was available, but most of the money is set to go elsewhere. Revenue from capital improvement bonds are supposed to go toward long-term projects, not temporary structures, they said.

The projects to be funded by the proposed bond issue would include $11.2 million to renovate the fire station in City Heights, which, according to Emerald, is one of the 20 busiest in the United States. About $8.2 would go toward rebuilding the firehouse in Hillcrest, and $2.6 million would be spent remodeling a station in Point Loma.

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