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20130328 Alton Fire Station Groundbreaking 5781ALTON—City of Alton officials gathered at the empty lot just south of Alton City Hall on March 29 to break ground on the new Alton Fire Station. Mayor Salvador Vela gathered with councilmen and city staff on the property, while signage was mounted representing the beginning of construction.

Alton Fire Chief Javier Garcia said he was excited about the new building, and added the morale would definitely boost within the city’s fire fighter staff.

The new building is planned to be 8,400 square feet, Assistant City Manager Steve Peña said it has been a project that has been in city plans for three years. The total cost of the project is set at $1.15 million.

Peña explained $500,000 will be funded through a grant, and $500,000 will be funded through a loan from the USDA-Rural Development. The last $150,000 will be provided by a city match.

The fire station is planned to include three offices, a secretary area, lobby area, conference room, training room, kitchen, dormitories and eight vehicle bays. Extra rooms will be available for storage, mechanical issues and janitorial supplies.

Alton City Council approved a request to be submitted to the Urban County Program to utilize surplus funding for Fire Department equipment. If the request is approved, a total of $95,331 will be allocated to the Fire Department. Pena said the funding would be used for a cascading system to refill scuba air tanks.

“The project has a February 2014 extension, but hopefully it will be complete by December 2013,” Garcia said. “We are thankful to the council for making this happen.”

The new station is expected to give the community a faster response time and will by manned 24 hours, seven days a week. Currently, the Alton fire station has 14 fire fighters that work in three different shifts.

According to Pena, a benefit for the city is the reduction on the Fire Department Insurance Service Office Rating. A reduction in the rating should lead to a lower insurance rate for Alton citizens, due to increased fire protection.

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