City of San Diego aiming for November 2016 bond to build new fire stations
The city of San Diego is hoping to build support for a $205 million general obligation bond on the November 2016 ballot to help fund a citywide shortfall on fire stations. If approved, the bond would assist in building 17 fire stations to shore up gaps in emergency services.
In 2011, the San Diego City Council adopted the findings and recommendations in Citygate Report, a study of fire service standards and response coverage. As a result of the findings, the council established a five-year implementation plan to design and construct 19 fire stations. The plan was stalled by the recession, but the city is now ready to move forward with the support of voters.
Alan Arrollado, a San Diego firefighter for 27 years, said the city has seen tremendous growth. The growth is good for the vibrance of the city, but as a firefighter, Arrollado said he sees that growth only as risk.
Arrollado said San Diego is the eighth largest city in the country, and there are major metropolitan risks here: Fire season is year-round, and there are 900 miles of canyon-rim homes and 330 miles of coverage with more than 1 million residents to protect. Call volumes have grown so much in the past 10 to 15 years that the department is having trouble meeting all of the city’s needs, he said.
Difficulties exist responding to calls from Station 41 in Sorrento Valley, fighting UTC and Mira Mesa traffic; the Station 35 truck from UTC gets stuck reaching Torrey Hills from Interstate 5; and Station 24 has challenges reaching the area on busy Del Mar Heights Road.
“It presents problems not just here, but all over the city,” Arrollado said. “Seconds are property and lives lost. The risks are real here.”