Stagecoach likely will have its own firehouse by next spring, said Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup.
"We are trying to speed up the process for the firehouse," Wisecup told more than 100 people gathered for the annual Stagecoach Property Owners Association meeting Saturday in Oak Creek.
The initial target date to build the Stagecoach firehouse was late 2005, but after an unexpected $50,000 in additional tax revenue last year, Wisecup said the district tried to break ground in November 2003. Stagecoach, which has seen accelerated development the past few years, provides 70 percent of the assessed value for the Oak Creek Fire Protection District, Wisecup said.
Since November 2003, the district has had to deal with several logistical issues that delayed construction of the new firehouse. First, the district moved the location of the Stagecoach firehouse from a steep site near the Stagecoach Townhomes to a "more simply located and better site" on Routt County Road 16, Wisecup said. After that, the fire district had to grapple with plans to move a Yampa Valley Electric Association power line and increase the proposed size of the water line coming into the firehouse.
Now that these issues are resolved, Wisecup said he expects to break ground on the utility lines for the firehouse Friday.
But the rest of the construction on the stucco building that resembles the new North Routt fire station may have to wait, he said.
Initial Stagecoach firehouse construction costs were estimated at about $600,000, but volunteer contractors and material donations have dropped the estimate to about $345,000, Wisecup estimated. Unfortunately, most of that volunteer construction labor was lined up for last fall, and now those people are busy, Wisecup said.
While Wisecup expects the first phase of construction to begin at the end of the week, the rest of the construction will depend on the schedules and availability of volunteer contractors throughout the rest of the summer and fall. Realistically, the station won't be complete until next spring, he said.
As far as staffing the new firehouse, Wisecup encourages anyone with a background in fire or emergency services to sign up to volunteer for the all-volunteer Stagecoach firehouse. He said he is trying to budget for things such as training and additional equipment for the firehouse.
While the Oak Creek Fire Protection district covers 265 square miles, including the town of Oak Creek, Stagecoach, Lynx Pass, Morrison Creek Valley, Trout Creek, The Creek Ranch and portions of Henderson Park, most of the district's volunteers are from the area more immediately around Oak Creek, Wisecup said. He said he thought it would be easier for Stagecoach residents to volunteer once they have their own firehouse nearby. The new firehouse will hold a Class A fire engine that can pump 750 gallons of water a minute, a brush truck and an ambulance.
"We're not going to be able to do it all if there's a major wildfire. We need your help," Wisecup said.
--To reach Jennie Lay call 871-4210 or e-mail email@example.com