A $2.6 million, 17,500-square-foot fire station is the Mercedes’ new location for first responders. It replaces the former station four blocks away, built in 1927 and designed by architect Newell Waters, whose firm drew the plans for many Rio Grande Valley buildings, including Weslaco’s former city hall and the Hidalgo County Courthouse
Mercedes’ fire department employs six paid firefighters supported by17 volunteers, said Fire Chief Jaime Garcia.
Four times larger than the old fire station, the new building will allow the city to add three new paid positions in the next year, the chief said.
“The new facility has dorms, showers, and restrooms that will allow us to staff 24/7,” he said of the two dormitories that can accommodate up to 14 firefighters and kitchen area. “The old living space and building did not meet current code.”
The new fire station will allow for around-the-clock protection, and could reduce fire insurance premiums for business owners in the city — something officials hope will spur more economic development.
The $2.6 million project was funded in part by a $500,000 federal stimulus grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture worth more than $1.5 million.
For more information, view www.themonitor.com