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Funding Delayed For New U. City Fire House

Rising construction costs, shortfall in state funding are considerations

University City wants to replace its old fire house connected to city hall at 6801 Delmar Blvd. photo by Ursula Ruhl. (click for larger version)
October 06, 2011
University City's City Council has delayed allocating additional funds for the building of a new fire house in order to discuss concerns about the project.

At its Sept. 26 meeting, the council considered a request from city staff to allocate an additional $674,494 for the project. The city is seeking to replace its fire house number one, which is connected to city hall at 6801 Delmar Blvd., and replace it with a new facility near the corner of Vernon and Westgate avenues.

Several considerations factored into the request, including a grant that the city received from the state of Missouri in 2009 to help with the project. The city had requested $3,149,178, to which the city would have contributed, and an additional $200,000. However, the city received $2,612,197, which is $536,981 less than requested. In addition, construction costs have risen since that time.

During the Sept. 26 meeting, several residents, as well as city council members, posed questions about the project.

Resident Greg Pace expressed concern that the new location would result in longer times getting to calls in southern parts of the city. He also suggested focusing on addressing needs and taking care of the current building, which could be an alternative to a new facility.

Elsie Glickert questioned the proposed location, saying that it is near a paved section of the River Des Peres, which could be subject to flooding. She also questioned whether the pavement could hold up under the pressure of regular traffic from fire trucks.

Second Ward Councilman Michael Glickert also asked about possible flooding issues.

"I feel uncomfortable voting on this now; there are too many unknowns," said Glickert.

The council ultimately decided to table the issue in order to hold a discussion session. City Manager Lehman Walker said he would make arrangements for that meeting.

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