Elk River won’t act on its fire hall study as of yet

by Kurt Nesbitt
Contributing Writer
Local officials might need to look at adding more buildings for the Elk River Fire Department in the future, recommended a recent report, but they aren’t going to act on those recommendations any time soon.

The Elk River City Council heard a report at its work session Tuesday night that recommended local officials add two more fire stations to the area served by the fire department in order to cut down on firefighters’ commute and service wait times and to accommodate future growth in the northern part of Elk River.

Mayor John Dietz said the council did not make any decision on the presentation.

The fire department contracted with an architectural firm in March for the study, which included an in-depth review of Elk River’s current facilities. That firm looked at incident and map data to compare against national standards and spoke several times with the department’s on-call officer team.

The study also looked at training facility needs and the possibility of future expansion of Elk River’s public safety building.

The report reached six conclusions. Since fire department response times are challenged by the city’s geography, the firm recommended building a third fire station on the east side of Highway 169 and a fourth in Otsego with the city of Otsego, both at a cost of $4.7 to $5.5 million each. The department’s headquarters at the public safety building could expand to have more room for locker rooms, showers and offices for on-call firefighters and more training spaces for $850,000 to $1 million.

The Police Department’s space could be brought to a completed state and its garage could expand to accommodate the department’s 20 vehicles. That would cost an additional $3 to $3.6 million.