Fire Board Begins Facilities Discussion

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At their meeting Tuesday morning, the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District Board of Commissioners began discussion of what to do with their four properties – three fire stations and an administration building.

Fire Chief Matthew Love introduced the topic, telling board members that at this point he expects more questions than answers but is seeking a broad discussion on resource deployment for the entire district. He explained why he brought the topic to the board.

“As high traffic facilities, such as public safety stations, increase in age, so does maintenance and replacement costs. The District has received preliminary assessments regarding our oldest fire station’s needs. Prior to implementing certain maintenance and repair aspects, a discussion is desired to determine long-term District needs to best utilize funds.”

The District’s three fire stations are located at 3043 Estero Blvd. (Station 31); 17891 San Carlos Blvd (Station 32) and 121 Lenell Road (Station 33). The Administration Building is located at 100 Voorhis Street and houses offices for the District.

According to the District’s website, the original Station 31 building was acquired shortly after the district was formed nearly 65 years ago, through a donation that limits its use to a fire station.

“Mr. Donald Zimmer and Mrs. Ora Zimmer, on December 28, 1951, donated land on Estero Boulevard for a fire station, provided, however, “that the described property be maintained as a main and operating fire and engine house,” or consequently the land reverts back to the Zimmers or their heirs. An additional parcel of land was acquired from the Zimmers on February 27, 1961 for the expansion of the firehouse.”

Stations 32 and 33 are less than 10 years old, but have had maintenance issues over the past few years.

Love explained that he wants to begin long-term facilities planning and gather commissioners’ questions and concerns so that he can begin research so the board can determine a long-range repair/replace plan.

Board Chair Carol Morris said she would like to lay out every possible plan and then analyze the pros, cons and costs of each one.

Vice-Chair Ted Schindler asked if it would be possible to rebuild Station 31 and add a floor for administration offices.

During a board discussion of possible sale of the administration building, Commissioner Bob Raymond revealed that it is zoned as a fire district building and sits in a residentially zoned area, meaning it can’t be sold for commercial use unless the town rezones it as commercial.

Love will bring an action list to the next board meeting for discussion.

The next meeting of the Fire Board will be November 15 at 6pm at Station 31, 3043 Estero Blvd.
Missy Layfield