Mayor Jim Gray, fire officials and several councilmembers today broke ground on a new fire station to replace the aging Station 2, one of the busiest stations in the city.
“Public safety is our top priority and that means making sure our firehouses can meet the needs of the areas they serve,” Gray said. “This replacement station…the first new firehouse we’ve built since 2005…is essential to serve this growing part of our city.” The new station is expected to open in mid-summer 2017.
Built in 1953, Station 2, now located at 415 New Circle Rd., housed the county fire and police station, including jail cells, before the merger of local government.
Today it’s a firehouse that is overcrowded and its location overlaps the coverage area of another station. In addition, plans to widen New Circle are expected to take away part of the station’s front “apron,” making it unsuitable for use as a firehouse.
Councilmember Bill Farmer Jr. said the ground breaking “makes history for Lexington and the 5th District. Neighborhoods on Lexington's east side will benefit from better fire service coverage with this new station and its apparatus. Insurance rates can be positively affected for some, but the safe feeling of well-being will be enjoyed by all.”
Councilmember Kevin Stinnett, an advocate for the station, said, “This project, which began in 2007, is a much needed improvement to Fire Station 2 and will improve the working conditions for the firefighters. It will be better equipped to serve residents of Northeast Lexington.” Councilmembers Shevawn Akers, Peggy Henson, James Brown, Jennifer Mossotti and Angela Evans were also in attendance.
The new station will be located at 1276 Eastland Drive, behind Eastland Shopping Center. Construction costs are estimated at $5.5 million. With 14,000 square feet of space, it will relieve the overcrowding at the current Station 2. It is designed to be energy efficient with geo-thermal heat and LED lighting.
Interim Fire Chief Harold Hoskins said, “The new facility will better support the firefighters at Station 2 as they respond to approximately 240 fire and emergency medical runs each month.” With this new fire station, citizens along the East New Circle Road corridor, including those in the Liberty Road area, will see improved coverage, Hoskins said.
Station 2 Captain Wade Miracle said the firefighters assigned to Station 2, also known as “The Rock,” will miss their old station, but are looking forward to the new facility. “We will especially miss some of the people we serve,” Miracle said. “But we won’t miss the overcrowding … we have some firefighters sleeping in the old jail cells that were once part of the station.”
Station 2 is home to engine, ladder and emergency care companies and to a District Major who oversees several firehouses.