City Council agrees to preliminary design contract for new fire station

December 02, 2016
Santa Paula News

A design contract for the new fire station was pulled for discussion at the November 21 City Council meeting when the future of the fire department was questioned as well as the whereabouts of $750,000 of funding.

Councilwoman Ginger Gherardi asked that the item be pulled from the consent calendar, those items considered routine and not warranting discussion. 

Gherardi asked Fire Chief Rick Araiza for input on “future plans” of the department possibly merging with Venture County Fire and how that would impact the planned fire station.

Araiza said the proposed new fire station has been discussed during a recent meeting with the VCFD Chief Mark Lorenzen.

He noted, “The proposal is we’re being given $4 million from Limoneira,” to construct and equip a new station as part of the Harvest at Limoneira development agreement, “and, if the county takes over, they would cover the design and add $3 million to build a bigger station.”

The $44,000 preliminary design contract calls for professional services by Kruger-Benson-Ziemer of Ventura and, noted Araiza, “The architect is well aware that the design could grow.”

Gherardi asked why what had been $4.75 million allocated for the project was now $4 million.

“Where,” she asked, “did the $750,000 go?” 

“It went to the police,” said Araiza. “It was the Limoneira grant,” which had been amended in the agreement with the developer. 

Considering the presently unknown status of the SPFD, “I was just wondering if the $44,000 is a good investment,” said Mayor Martin Hernandez.

The design work requested is preliminary but a needed first step noted Araiza, who said Limoneira is “under the gun” to have a station completed under a strict timeline based on the completed construction of 250 housing units. 

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