12 years after an agreement was made, Estrella's 2nd fire station is getting closer to reality.
Monday night, Goodyear lawmakers will vote on a resolution to move forward with hiring and training seven firefighters who would be stationed in Estrella. This would be for Estrella's 2nd fire station, 804 Station - a.k.a. Goodyear Fire Station 186.
Goodyear's City Projects webpage shows the construction start date for this fire station is January 2019 with a budget of $5,050,000.
It's estimated to be completed in December 2019. However, the fire chief tells me he expects opening in the Fall of 2019.
WHY THE TIMELINE WAS MOVED UP
Around 2006, the City of Goodyear, Newland, and then partner "Tousa" agreed to develop a second fire station in Estrella which was to be built and running by 2009.
The economy tanked and the station was never built. It was to be constructed at Willis and Rainbow Valley Roads.
In 2015, Fire Chief Luizzi addressed council about growing fire service demands throughout the City of Goodyear... and in Estrella. Over the next few months, he explained to council City triggers and thresholds which would cause the construction of an additional fire station in Estrella.
At one point, Estrella 2nd fire station was not to be operational until 2025! Link
Tragically, on March 26, 2016, an Estrella family found themselves the victims of a house fire early Easter morning. Their dog, Daisy, lost her life. The Estrella community pulled together raising over $20,000 in money and donations for the family.
West Valley Families studied the response times for the house fire and reported on what really happened here. And the results left us asking... "What can we afford? We hope it's not lives."
At the Estrella house fire on March 27, 2016 - 9 minutes into the alarm - just 5 fire people were at the scene. Goodyear was first to respond at 8 minutes and 10 seconds. The national standard recommended 15 people weren’t on scene until 14 minutes and 58 seconds into the alarm. That’s 5 minutes and 58 seconds later than the NFPA 1710 standard.
In June 2016, we were tipped that the City's agreement with local developers had lapsed. Our sources told us the agreement was "allowed to expire" and that funding for a second fire station was not in place. Report here.
At the June 27, 2016 meeting, City Manager Brian Dalke revealed he spoke with a Newland representative just that week.
And talking to Bill Olsen this week, there has been an understanding that the bones of an agreement are in place. It can be argued some of those elements may or may not apply. The fact of the matter is one of the partners - if you will - back to the earlier agreement is no longer there. So CantaMia for example - is AV Homes - will be part of any discussions.” ~GOODYEAR CITY MANAGER BRIAN DALKE, JUNE 27, 2016
THE CITY KEPT BUILDING
During all of this, City lawmakers continued to approve building permits in the Estrella community.
We've lost count for more permits since we last checked. But, drive into Estrella and you'll see the tremendous amount of construction from Star Tower down through Montecito.
Additionally, in Spring 2016, Goodyear City Council participated in a work session to discuss the FY17-26 Capital Improvement Program. About half way through the meeting, the presentation turned to "General Funded Programs - Projects Requests." City staff initially recommends fire stations be listed on deferral for future impact fees.
We added fire stations to your list simply because of your recent conversations just to put it up here and let you know it’s on our radar… but that we know the study is pending and we’ll wait for that project. ~Lauri Wingenroth, Budget and Research Manager
Priorities ahead of fire stations, listed at that meeting, included a recreation center and aquatics facility and ANOTHER STUDY TO THE TUNE OF $100,000 to find out where to place the train park.
Coincidentally, Goodyear lawmakers also will hear a report this Monday night for the Recreation Campus Master Plan. Link
KJZZ's Matthew Casey reported Goodyear taxpayers spent roughly $53,000 on a study to determine future fire service needs in Goodyear. The report was delivered in December 2016. Council called into question the study's metrics for the Estrella community... which led to a call for information about the lapsed developer agreement for the Estrella fire station.
In January 2016, Council quizzed the fire chief about a variety of ways to add service in Estrella without building a full fire station.
We could do something smaller or different, could we not? ~Wally Campbell, City Councilmember
What would be the cost to add... a truck... or add additional personnel to the station we have? ~(Then) Vice Mayor Sheri Lauritano
Councilmember Sheri Lauritano is an Estrella resident. She also said she was in Estrella and heard and saw the Easter morning fire which took place after this meeting.
Adding just a two-man crew to the current station would be a "clock stopper" move. They'd be first to arrive. Because they'd be medical... they wouldn't be able to help on a structure fire at all. "So you're still waiting the time for additional support to come," states Fire Chief Luizzi.
Even if you just put in a two-man crew, you still have a time and distance issue south of Ray Road. ~Fire Chief Luizzi
Council member Bill Stipp has a great deal of knowledge on this topic and provided some thoughtful input that seemingly put this discussion on track.
We know based on years and years of study that a two-person EMS companies are not nearly as effective as four-person EMS companies. So when we're talking about delivering service, what we're really talking about is just getting somebody there. That's it... Let's ask ourselves, 'What level of service do we want to provide?' If we want to provide just band-aids and a rub on the shoulder or rub your back, then two people is the way to go. If we want to provide advance life support, we need to be all in. ~Councilmember Bill Stipp
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
In March, we reported a fire "team" reviewed the two potential locations for the Estrella fire station.
Location #1: Rainbow Valley Road and Willis Road (Station No. 804) - Identified by Goodyear Fire
In addition to saving half a million dollars, a compelling reason Goodyear Fire wants the station be built on the original site location is due to convenience.
"...the team evaluated turning movements to and from the site, access to the frontage and surrounding roadways, new short-term and long-term development of the area and proximity to other city facilities and infrastructure." Goodyear Staff Report
JEN'S TWO CENTS
Seeing Monday night's resolution on the Council agenda is encouraging. I'm proud to see the City of Goodyear keep this a priority along with the other needed fire stations throughout the city.
Between fire stations, the rec campus, and water conservation, Monday night should be a good night for residents in this All-America City.
OUR FIRE COVERAGE
To get up to speed on what we've covered so far, please visit these links:
Recreation & Fire Services in Estrella: March 5, 2018
Estrella's 2nd Fire Station Could Be One Step Closer to Reality: February 26, 2017
Teamwork Will Bring Additional Fire Service to Estrella: January 24, 2017
Fire Service Future in Lawmakers' Hands: December 8, 2016
Patient Care Coordination Update: September 18, 2016
Waiting Game: July 11, 2016
CantaMia Growth and Fire Service Demands: July 10, 2016
Estrella House Fire Response Times: June 29, 2016
Goodyear Under Fire: June 28, 2016
Fire Station Funding: March 17, 2016
Triggers, Thresholds, and Fire Service Demands: March 10, 2016
Saving Lives, City Budgets, and Growth in Estrella: January 26, 2016
Community Paramedicine: December 2015
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Barber is a Goodyear resident resident of almost 20 years and a retired broadcast news journalist. Involved in various nonprofit and city organizations since 2008, Barber has a unique view of what's happening in the West Valley of Arizona.