The Fort Smith Board of Directors has approved the $1.6 million purchase of property on Wheeler Avenue for a maintenance center for the Fort Smith Fire Department. Prior to the approval, the FSFD did not have a separate maintenance facility.
Directors approved spending $1.6 million for the new building and property. The city will use $585,000 from Fire Department Act 833 funds, $543,780 from the FSFD capital outlay funds, and $471,220 from the city’s general funds to purchase approximately 10.7 acres at 5601 and 5715 Wheeler Ave.
The existing building at the 5715 address is 10,000 square feet and can immediately accommodate maintenance of fire apparatus with tall service bay doors and a tall ceiling that will allow for lifting fire apparatus for service needs. The additional acreage at the 5601 address will accommodate test driving of apparatus and driver training needs for FSFD, the memo states.
Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman, in a memo on the subject, said the Fire Department does not have a proper facility to support maintenance activities for fire apparatus and other equipment.
“Fire Station No. 3 has been used as possible, but much work must be performed outside in the elements and not in a proper, safe and secure facility. To that end, the Fire Department has saved Act 833 funds to combine with Capital Outlay funds for the purchase of a facility to serve the maintenance needs of the department,” the memo said.
“Not only will this increase the turnaround times for trucks, but this will ease congestion at the stations for our reserve apparatus,” Fire Department Division Chief Ethan Millard said. “Our special operations equipment like bomb squad equipment, hazardous materials equipment that we have that could be stored there.”
Millard said the property was turnkey and ready for the operations to be moved in immediately. The fire department has the necessary equipment to furnish the building and two mechanics on staff to service the trucks, Millard said.
“The facility will open up the option for preventive maintenance that we currently sub out,” he said.