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Permanent Fire Station in Ave Maria Moving Forward, but Slowly

fire1-350Ave Maria is moving closer to having a permanent fire station to replace the temporary trailer that has been home to fire and EMS personnel since the town opened in 2007. (right, the temporary facility that currently houses fire and EMS in Ave Maria)

Establishing a permanent station has been a crusade for Paul Anderson since he became chief of the Immokalee Fire Control District about three and a-half years ago. It has been a slow process involving negotiations involving his department, Ave Maria Development and Collier County officials.

Chief Anderson got over one major hurdle recently when he and Ave Maria Development agreed on the location for the station, which will be behind the gas station at the Park of Commerce south of the town center. Under terms of the agreement with the county that govern development of Ave Maria, developers were obligated to provide a three-acre parcel of land for a public safety structure to house fire, EMS and law enforcement, but the location and terms were not specified. The fire chief and Ave Maria Development disagreed on where to locate the parcel and what type of compensation, if any, would be provided to developers.

They settled on the location, as well as terms of compensation that will be in the form of impact fee credits to the developers.

A remaining issue, however, was when the county wants to proceed with building a facility to house the EMS unit at the same time.

To get around that, Chief Anderson said, developers will turn over the entire three-acre parcel but only half of it – the half for the fire station – would be developed in the short term. That still requires approval from the Board of County Commissioners, however, and the chief said he is hoping the board – which will have three new members after the November elections – will take up the matter late this year.

Meantime, fire and EMS crews will remain housed in its temporary facility located north of the Ave Maria University campus.

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