Joco 913

At long last, residents hear the details of Mission Road fire station

After months of conjecture and uncertainty, Consolidated Fire District No. 2 has released details about the new fire station it plans to build on Mission Road.

District officials held a public information meeting Wednesday evening at the Prairie Village Community Center to present their plans and answer questions from residents and city leaders who have been asking about the rumored station since last winter.

The district, which is a separate entity from the Prairie Village city government, has a contract to buy a little more than an acre behind Mission Road Bible Church at 7820 Mission Road. On that site, architects with Archimages Inc. said they are planning a 13,000-square-foot building with room for three fire trucks and living quarters for firefighters.

Currently, the land is empty green space adjacent to the city’s Frisbee golf course and skateboard park. It slopes down toward Mission Road, a feature the architects said would help keep the building’s profile, which will reach around 28 feet tall at its peak, less disruptive to the surrounding park and residential areas.

An access road built along the northern edge of the church property will allow fire trucks to leave the station and exit onto Mission Road at a new signaled intersection that will only operate during emergency calls. At the urging of Mission Road residents living across from the proposed station, Fire Chief Tony Lopez said his staff would recognize a “quiet zone” on Mission Road between City Hall to the north and 79th Street to the south where fire trucks would avoid using their sirens.

“We only use them if we have to,” he said.

Building the access road will take away some parking from the church, so the architects also plan to shift a church driveway along the southern edge farther south to replace the lost parking.

Gary Harper, representing the Village Park Townhomes just south of the proposed station, said that would put church traffic much closer to some residents who now sit 50 feet or more from the church parking lot.

“You are capturing all of that green space there that is part of people’s patios and backyards now,” Harper said.

He added that he hoped to work with the district to increase the amount of landscaping used to shield the building from neighbors and perhaps shrink the fire station’s height.

District officials declined to provide financial details for the cost of the land or the fire station itself. They said the land is still being negotiated and that they didn’t want to disclose the budget for the station before the project goes out for bid.

Fire officials have sought a new station in the area near City Hall for more than a year after a $30,000 study showed those neighborhoods generate the most service calls within the district’s boundaries. Lopez said the new station would replace Fire Station 23 currently operated at 9011 Roe Avenue. He said the district plans to hold onto the Roe Avenue site for now until it determines whether the Meadowbrook subdivision currently under construction between Nall and Roe avenues will generate enough calls to require another station.

The district approached the city in 2015 about buying a piece of land near the community center but the proposal fell through amid concerns over the loss of parking spots and the district’s need for a larger building.”

Once reports surfaced late last year that the district was negotiating to buy the church property, the City Council repeatedly requested details and a formal presentation, but to no avail. Lopez blamed the delay on a series of scheduling conflicts and setbacks, including surveying errors on the site.

Lopez said he and the architects will give a presentation on the station to the City Council on July 17 and request approval from the city’s planning commission for their site plan in August.

Assuming all goes to plan, the district said it will complete its purchase of the property in August and begin construction this fall with the station opening 12 to 14 months after that.

Mayor Laura Wassmer and several city council members attended the meeting Wednesday. Councilman Terrance Gallagher, who represents residents living across Mission Road from the proposed site, said he was just glad to finally be able to answer some of his constituents’ questions.

“Before I couldn’t share anything,” Gallagher said. “Now I feel better informed to help them be better informed.”

David Twiddy: