The small, aging fire station that has served Sulphur Springs and nearby neighborhoods for nearly 60 years is not a pretty sight.
“Candidly, it’s a dump,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
On Tuesday, Buckhorn and Tampa Fire Chief Tom Forward joined other city officials and firefighters in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $1.66 million fire station at 1500 W. Waters Ave. Construction ofn the 8,600-square-foot building is expected to be completed by December.
Fire Station #11 will have a three-bay garage with work and sleeping quarters. The station also will have energy efficient lighting and air-conditioning, solar-powered outside lighting and hot water heating, and Florida native landscaping.
City officials searched for about five years before finding the Waters Avenue site. Funding is from community investment tax dollars.
The existing 5,000-square-foot station, at 710 Fairbanks St., is in a residential neighborhood. On emergency calls fire trucks drive onto narrow streets and turn tight corners to reach the nearest major intersection of Waters and Florida avenues.
It’s a busy station, typically responding to about 7,000 of the city’s 80,000 fire alarm calls annually, said Forward.
“It’s a very, very busy asset,” he said.
The new station will continue primarily to serve the neighborhoods of Sulphur Springs, Forest Hills and the Lowry Park area.