The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 27, 2014

Carthage planning for fire station, waiting for action on building site

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage officials, ready to start planning for a new south substation for the Fire Department, are waiting for a final, essential piece in the puzzle.

The city has been promised a gift of property for the new station, but signed papers making the gift official have not yet made it back to Carthage, said Tom Short, city administrator.

The property, a three-acre tract just south of Fir Road and east of Highway 571, currently is owned by the First Bank and Trust Co., Lubbock, Texas. The bank acquired the land in a foreclosure and agreed to give the land to Carthage after being approached by city officials. Now, they’re waiting for the signed papers to arrive.

Officials on April 15 will accept qualifications toward selecting an architect to design the building, though that work won’t start until the property transfer is in place.

“The building site will have an impact on the design, and whatever the design is will need to be a good fit for the location,” Short said.

Carthage for years has been planning for a fire substation in the south part of the city, as the city continued to grow that direction. Since discussions began, a new hospital, a new high school and more retail development have been added to the mix.

Funding for the design of a new building is included in this year’s budget, though Short noted that some of the work may not be done until after the July 1 start of the new fiscal year. He said members of the council’s budget ways and means committee still are discussing potential funding for the project in next year’s budget.

“They’ll be talking about that in meetings next month, but really the timing hinges on when we get the property,” he said.

The new fire station will require additional staffing by the department. A three-member crew will be located there, along with some equipment now housed at the main fire station at Garrison and Chestnut avenues.

Short said officials have made no decision on station design except that the building will fit the site and fit into the neighborhood.

“It’s going to be something practical, usable and affordable,” he said.

Some funding for the operation will come from a quarter-cent fire department sales tax that was approved by voters about two years ago. The tax brings in about $488,000 per year.

Short said city officials last year submitted a grant application to the Steadley Foundation, seeking financial help for the project. That application was not successful, and the city likely will submit another request this year.



Statistics

THE CARTHAGE FIRE DEPARTMENT responded to 1,616 calls for service in 2013, including 47 residential structure fires, 229 car crashes and 807 medical calls.

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