As the City of Bellevue continues its acquisition process for land it says is needed for Fire Station 10, residents urge the need for relocation.
The site slated for Fire Station 10 — a 2.82-acre plot located on the northwest corner of 112th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 12th Street in the Northtowne neighborhood of Bellevue — will require the acquisition of up to nine parcels of land bordering one another. The site abuts McCormick Park along Northeast 12th Street.
Residents spoke up through various channels of feedback to the city as well as publicly at Monday’s City Council meeting.
One complaint was the fire station’s “downtown creep” into residential neighborhoods. The same resident claimed that McCormick park has marked the edge of Downtown Bellevue since the 1970s.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bellevue’s population doubled from 61,196 in 1970 to 122,363 in 2010. Downtown itself had more than 7,000 residents and was projected by the city to have more than 19,000 by 2030.
Due largely to this population growth in areas like Downtown and Bel-Red, Bellevue Fire Chief Mark Risen has stated response times must keep up with growth.
“The process weighed heavily on technical requirements,” he said previously to the Reporter. “Response time was huge. Confining fires to the room of origin and cardiac survival rates, that was the number-one criteria for us.”
The 2017-2023 Capital Investment Program allocates $10,100,000 to acquire the property for Fire Station 10. The plot chosen was selected from 18 different plots of land located somewhere in a square bordered on the north by Northeast 14th Street, on the west by 105th Avenue Northeast, on the south by Northeast 6th Street and on the east by Interstate 405, according to Risen.
One of the major concerns with the location is that near the square the city had designated as ideal for a new station, there are three locations already owned by the City of Bellevue. Residents suggested these could be effective while not displacing residents from single-family neighborhoods.
Two of these locations, the Lincoln Center property on 116th Avenue Northeast and the “Delta site” on Northeast 12th Street were analyzed by city staff.
“Staff has completed response modeling on these two sites and has found the response times to be significantly less effective than the selected site at 112th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 12th Street,” a council memorandum reads.
Other concerns include the lack of public input in the process, the other 17 spots modeled for the project, that the potential collapse of freeway bridges should not be a selection criterion, the selection being because of the low price rather than the most effective location, the impact on the residential neighborhood and the loss of wetlands.
After an initial council meeting on Sept. 12, 2016, city staff has held a public meeting to brief the public, engaged all property owners about acquisition, begun appraisals and responded to proposed alternatives.
On Nov. 8, 2016, 57 percent of Bellevue voters approved the Fire Facilities Levy, which provides funding for the design and construction of Fire Station 10.