Some Lincoln (NE) Residents Not Pleased with Fire Station Plans

The city is looking for an alternative location for a new fire station it wants to build near 84th Street and Pioneers Boulevard after residents on Mandarin Circle balked at putting it nearby.

Residents who became aware of the city’s interest in property at 4831 and 4841 Mandarin Circle wrote letters to Mayor Chris Beutler last week asking the city to consider a different spot for the Lincoln Fire and Rescue station.

Public Safety Director Tom Casady said Monday the city is taking residents’ concerns into consideration after hosting a meeting with them last week.

“We wanted to hear feedback, and we heard consistent feedback that they don’t want a fire station,” Casady said. “We want to see what else is available.”

However, Casady said, some of the concerns expressed are unfounded.

Casady also said rumors the city “strong-armed or threatened” a current landowner are wrong.

“This particular land was being offered for sale and we had discussed with the owner (and his representative) an option to purchase that land,” Casady said.

The new fire station, along with three others, was proposed after the city conducted a fire station optimization study in 2014 using historical data and a 25-year growth projection, Casady said.

The study showed Lincoln firefighters and medics can’t reach 11 percent of the city’s 90,000 addresses within four minutes, an emergency services standard that increases the odds of saving people in medical emergencies and property in fires.

The study helped city officials identify four locations for the new stations.

“We’ve been looking for land for all four of these stations within a one-half mile radius from the four optimal locations,” Casady said.

Voters approved a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax in the April primary election to pay for the four new fire stations and a new police and fire emergency radio system.

Two of the new stations would replace existing stations, the other two would be staffed by current firefighters from other stations that hold more than one fire company.

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