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Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Fire Station Location Projects Future City Growth

For the past six months, Janesville administration officials have been promoting the idea of building a new centrally located fire station at the site of the current ice arena. Accordingly, the current (old) fire station's location has been deemed inadequate.
JG Excerpt:
The current location on Milton Avenue is not the best because the city has grown to the north and the east, Winzenz said.
Perhaps it was just a minor misstatement, but using that logic you'd think they'd plan on building a new fire station in a location to the north and to the east of the current fire station. Instead, they intend on building the new fire station even further south and a smidgeon to the west.
JG Excerpt:
-- The ice arena site at 821 Beloit Ave. The location provides a good response time to the east because of Palmer Drive and to the south with Beloit Avenue.

The conversion of prime green fields into residential and commercial development (TIFS around farmland, etc.) appears to have shifted away from the northeast to the south and southeast quadrants of the city. This activity (in place of sustainable jobs growth) is consistent with the decades long city administration devised donut-shaped economic plan. The downtown of course being the hole of the donut.

On one hand, I believe if the city was as serious about downtown development as they have been about the big box developments up on Milton avenue, they would have made it a priority to keep Main Street clear of heavy commercial trucks and that includes using it as a regular route for fire trucks. There has been some recent interest and improvements downtown but... I don't think it's near where it belongs on the city administration's economic activity list. On the other hand, I'm afraid to see what the city does if a fire station or a taxroll contributor like residential housing isn't built on the large ice arena site, assuming they will waste the unique post-less million dollar facility with a bulldozer. Either way, the current ice arena site does not come as cheap as they appear to be leading on.


Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. Since this firestation is supposed to serve the center core of the city, every call north into the downtown or the high density areas it is meant to serve from the ice arena firestation will have to pass through downtown. Unless they start off south down Beloit to Delavan and then to Jackson north. In that case they would be better off building it on Delavan if serving the south is so important. Available cheap property too.

Lou Kaye said...

Good points, but I wouldn't expect that to happen. That area seems to be in limbo because of the GM plant. Besides, the city seems to be on a mission to keep the Delavan corridor as depressed as possible. The power players have resigned themselves to a new ice arena and fire station, so it's just a matter of creating the means to make whatever location they decide upon fit. No referendum - no study plan. Judging from the map alone, the Milton Ave. fire station is in the perfect location and downtown becomes a bottleneck to any destination. Again, thanks for the thought provoking comments.

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