CVFD breaks ground on new fire station

Facility expected to open next summer


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Former CVFD chief Tom Reinbolt shakes hands with several dignitaries in attendance for the groundbreaking of the new Sation 35 in Eagle River on Wednesday, July 24.

MIKE NESPER

The Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department broke ground Wednesday, July 24 at the site of its new Station 35 on the Old Glenn Highway near Fire Lake in Eagle River.

The 10,000-square-foot facility will house five fire fighting and response vehicles, offices, a classroom and serve as the department’s administrative station, said CVFD Chief Virginia McMichael.

“It will house all of our logistics,” she said.

The six-bay station will contain an ambulance, fire engine, brush truck, water tender, boat or snowmachines — depending on the season — and the sixth bay will be used for maintenance.

Having a station back at the corner of West Lake Ridge Drive and the Old Glenn is critical, McMichael said, due to its strategic location. The department will have close access to the Glenn Highway and will be near the Powder Ridge subdivision, she said.

“When this station opens, it’s going to be such an asset,” McMichael said. “We’re really, really excited.”

The former Station 35 was closed in February 2012 after the facility was deemed unsafe due to a deteriorating roof. Operating without one of its five stations has not been easy, McMichael said.

“It’s been an issue,” she said.

Fortunately, a Chugiak resident was there to lend a hand.

Dave Burgess owns a space large enough to store trucks and leased it to CVFD.

“It was a big help,” McMichael said.

The department will continue to store some vehicles on Burgess’ Chugiak property until its new station is built, McMichael said. Construction is expected to be completed by next summer, she said.

The new building is keeping its old namesake, Bill Lowe. After the department purchased the building in 2004, the following year it was named for Lowe — who served more than two decades on the CVFD Board of Supervisors — before he was killed in a traffic accident on the Old Glenn.

Former Assemblywoman and current CVFD Board of Supervisors member Debbie Ossiander praised area legislators, in particular Rep. Bill Stoltze, for acquiring the $6.15 million for the new station.

“The Chugiak-Eagle River delegation really stepped up to the plate,” she said.

Stoltze, who chairs the House Finance Committee, said Rep. Dan Saddler was a huge help in securing the funding.

“Without a good partner like that, it would have been tough,” he said.

Ossiander, who was one of several dignitaries in attendance, credited the Municipality of Anchorage for quickly securing a site for the facility and expediting the process.

The project is a great example of “people working together for the common good,” Ossiander said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mkie.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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