In 2018 Fire District 21 started the process of building a McElroy Rd Fire Station which we often refer to as Station 50. We purchased a property in the 17700 Blk of McElroy Rd which was within a strategic area of the “South side” of our District. This station would put us within 5 miles of a majority of homes. The District hired an architecture firm to design the fire station, we started down the path of building a new station.
Water was a part of this project, the area that this station is located in is within the City of Arlington’s water management area. They informed us that they wouldn’t approve a well so we began negotiating extending a waterline from 186th and McElroy to our site. Unfortunately a traffic mitigation disagreement between the City of Arlington and Snohomish County was used to delay the project by over two years. This traffic mitigation issue had nothing to do with District 21 and we had no ability to influence either side on the outcome. To say we as a Public Safety organization felt held hostage would be an understatement. We are not sure why City leadership used this issue and our project as a negotiation tactic. After the City and County finally agreed two years later we moved forward with the waterline and that project was completed in late 2021. At the same time our architectural firm struggled to get plans finalized, in the Spring of 2022 we finally accepted bids to build the station. Our budget that started in 2019 at 4.5 million had been increased to 5.5 million by 2022. When bids came back from eight bidders our lowest bid was 7.2 million plus tax. The District looked at all options, cutting things out, reducing in size, etc. But it was obvious that a change in direction was needed. Currently the District is in litigation against the Architect to recoup the nearly 1.3 million dollars that had been spent over the two years.
In January of 2022 the District began serving Burn, McElroy and Wade Rd areas for all EMS and Fire Services. We continue to contract to North County Fire and EMS for all Paramedic services. We have been leasing from a private homeowner over the last 10 months and are moving forward to purchase the property we have been leasing at nearly a quarter of the cost as building a station. While these savings are only recognized in our Bond payment they are still close to $150k a year in payment savings over our previously estimated amount. The District will utilize the 7 acre property for Administrative Offices, 24/7 staffing and meetings. We are excited for this new chapter in Fire District 21’s history. We now attempt the difficult task of staffing this station and the increased costs that are associated with that. The Fire Levy is a critical part of our funding for Fire and EMS staffing. A new Fire Station does no good if we do not have the funds for staffing that responds when 911 is called.
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