AUDUBON — The Audubon City Council will place a $2.9 million general obligation bond vote on the Nov. 2 election, hoping to get public approval so that a new fire station can be built.
The Audubon Fire Association had wanted to use donations, grants and fund-raising to pay for the new station, but after the old building at the site was demolished, it was time to put up the building, which was the largest part of the cost, resulting in the need for the bond. Another concern was rising prices of materials, which could add to the cost of the building.
According to City Clerk Joe Foran, while the length of the bond wasn’t set yet, it could cost Audubon residents about $2-$2.25 per $1,000, or approximately $300 a year on a $100,000 home. It would be listed as Public Measure D on the Nov. 2 election.
Audubon Fire Chief Tyler Thygesen said the new station was badly needed, and after it was completed, it could serve the city for many years. It would include 14 bays for the department’s various trucks and apparatus, a meeting room, kitchen, offices, storage room, shower room, locker rooms, laundry room, gear storage, utility room and a large open area in the mezzanine that will be used for training. Currently some fire equipment, like a trailer carrying rescue equipment, has to be housed outside of the station, and space is so tight that vehicles have to be moved out for some routine maintenance. The new bays would be big enough for the department’s biggest vehicles, and drivers would be able to drive around to the back of the building to pull into the station, leaving vehicles facing forward and ready to go out again.
Adding on to the current building isn’t possible due to a lack of space - there isn’t much extra space available to the north and south, they can’t expand to the east due to the highway and they can’t expand to the west because of the floodplain.
Public forums are planned on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. to present information on the department and the building plans, and to give the public time to ask questions.
A flyer from Fire Department officials said the building would be an investment towards the next 100 years of fire protection; would provide a safer environment for the firefighters who serve the community and it would be another step in improving the Highway 71 corridor.