Video: Breaking Ground to Relocate Fire Station
Waukesha Common Council approved project last fall to equalize response times while addressing aging facility.
The Waukesha Fire Department held its groundbreaking ceremony during a warm, sunny Tuesday afternoon to mark the start of construction for Fire Station No. 2 on Pearl Street.
The fire station, which was approved by the Common Council in the 2011 capital improvement budget last fall, is projected to be complete by the end of the year. The fire station is being built on Pearl Street just off of highways 59 and 164 in an effort to equalize response times throughout the city while addressing an aging facility at 1701 Stardust Drive.
"This ceremony symbolizes the ongoing commitment that the City of Waukesha Fire Department has in providing its core services to the community," said Fire Chief Allen LaConte, surrounded by others in Waukesha government by the mainly industrial neighborhood. "We recognize the importance of good community image and seek to improve the community in every way possible.
"We further recognize that the community is the reason for our presence and not the reverse."
The Common Council originally approved the fire station relocation in the 2010 capital improvement budget but that was contingent on the city receiving grant funds, so the project was delayed.
The council also approved in the 2011 budget relocating Fire Station No. 3 on a supermajority vote but agreed to only relocate one after Mayor Jeff Scrima vetoed their decision. A supermajority of the Common Council could have overturned the mayor's veto but they instead voted to move Fire Station No. 2 this year.
"The citizens of Waukesha can be extremely proud to have the fire department that we have," Scrima said. "They are extremely professional. They continue to serve our city well."
Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings, who fought the last two budget years to keep the fire station relocation project in the city's plans, said she never gave up on her attempts to have equal fire and medical responses in her district compared to the rest of the city.
The city's standard response time is seven minutes or less but areas of District 9 had up to 12 minute response times, according to information presented during the 2010 budget process and 2011 budget process.
"My mentor once said ‘Never give up and never give in,’” said a smiling Cummings before community leaders dug into the soft dirt. “That is what I have done for the last nine years. … We will now have equalized response times throughout the ninth district and throughout the east side of Waukesha. It’s a great day."