If you're a target of Estrella's Facebook ads, you've probably seen promotions for Lucero. It's a new community being built near Star Tower on Estrella Parkway. It's slated to open this spring.
Since Spring 2016, we've advocated for an additional fire station in Estrella to cover the quickly expanding community.
In March 2018, I last went to Goodyear City Council to ask about the timeline of the opening of Lucero and the construction of Estrella's 2nd fire station. The City sent a written response saying it did not know when families would move into Lucero. But, the additional fire station was on track to open in the Fall of 2019... "slightly later than the original timeline of mid-summer 2019." The city's website now shows that date pushed back again to December 2019.
Why do we care? 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 alarming response times and "tips" from within the fire community got us taking a closer look at the issue.
You can find the history of our reporting and advocacy here.
At the Estrella house fire on March 27, 2016 - 9 minutes into the alarm - just 5 fire professionals 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.
Even Goodyear City leaders have questioned why the response times in this All-America City are much longer than what they had been in the past. Eventually, Goodyear spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to hire a foreign firm out of the United Kingdom to study the city's fire services. (More.) The consultants came back and told Goodyear what it already knew. The city needed multiple new fire stations.
ESTRELLA'S SCHOOLS NEARING CAPACITY
Granted, homes will take time to be built in Lucero. But the amount of construction in south Estrella, in Montecito and CantaMia, has exploded. The traffic is getting heavier. The grocery store is busier. Even the Liberty Elementary School District has discussed the timeline for opening up a new school.
The Liberty Elementary School District recently discussed the issue of overcrowding in Estrella's schools. Link here. View the presentation from pages 51-66.
Jen's Two Cents
The lack of media coverage in the west Valley is concerning. Please pay attention to what your lawmakers are doing. And get informed before you vote. You have to make the extra effort because local media isn't cutting it.
Goodyear's council meetings are now broadcast on Facebook live. You also can find video recordings on its website if you miss the live show.
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.