TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The City of Topeka got the ball rolling on a new fire station. Station No. 13 would cover Council District 9, that's been without a station of its own.
Design and construction of the station is budgeted to cost more than $3.6 million. It will be build off 6th Ave., across from the Security Benefit building, on land donated by the Sisters of Charity.
"Our firefighters are stretched too thin. If they don't have a station in district 9, they're stretched too thin, because they are trying to cover other areas," Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz said Tuesday night (6/19).
Ortiz says homes and businesses in district 9, represented by Richard Harmon, are paying higher insurance rates, and
with the area growing, Ortiz worries about engine response times.
"We sit here time and time and time again and say our first priority is public safety. This is public safety," Ortiz said.
Workers plan to break ground for the new station in 2013, on former Menninger campus land off 6th Ave., between Fairlawn and Wanamaker. Topeka Fire Chief Greg Bailey says he plans to have it operational by early 2014.
"More likely than not we would be looking at shifting personnel. If you look at our 2013 budget, we did not ask for additional firefighters," Bailey said.
On Tuesday (6/19), Council members also approved a labor agreement impacting about 200 workers, they decided to allow for the construction of Rasmussen College along I-70, and they banned metal within Topeka city limits.