Bellevue’s rapid growth is straining fire facilities and first-rate response times. Downtown Bellevue has become the city’s fastest-growing neighborhood, with such growth creating added pressure on nearby fire stations.
In light of this growth, the city initiated an evaluation of current fire station locations, current and projected changes in development and population, as well as an assessment of the adequacy and stability of all current fire facilities.
What’s needed? The city’s list of capital projects exceeds projected revenue by more than $800 million over the next 20 years. This directly impacts the ability to accomplish the needed facility improvements set forth in the Fire Facilities Master Plan and fund necessary updates to the city’s fire infrastructure. A key improvement includes building a new Downtown fire station to serve and support the growth.
Any current response into the downtown area draws fire apparatus and crews from other fire stations, increasing response times to the neighborhoods where those stations are located, should they require assistance.
Undoubtedly, a Fire Station 10 will allow the current nine fire stations to better serve all neighborhoods while maintaining critical response times. What’s the cost? The benefits to be derived far exceed the property tax investment proposed, with less than $7 a month on average. This taxpayer-approved levy has a “specific” timetable of 20 years. In 20 years, the required improvements will have been made, a downtown fire station built — all allowing responder services to remain “first rate.”
The levy then discontinues with the goals having been met. To save one life, one home, one business is an immeasurable impact on the entire community. It is critical to ensure the Bellevue Fire Department has safe, survivable and appropriate facilities to enable continued excellence in fire and emergency medical response, supporting all Bellevue citizens and its neighboring communities. A “yes” vote on Proposition 1 will protect us all!
Jeanne M. Elliott