Committee favors moving ahead with new southeast fire station

A new fire station would improve response time to an under-served portion of east Minot, but at a cost, Fire Chief CJ Craven told the Minot City Council’s Public Works and Safety Committee Wednesday.

The committee agreed to recommend the council proceed with engineering and architectural design of a new station in southeast Minot, on property donated in a new development called 55th Crossing. The new community will have more than 2,000 residential units and will be home to a new Nedrose high school.

Craven said the fire station would not only serve southeast Minot but would have good access to the U.S. 2 & 52 Bypass, Burdick Expressway East and Ward County Highway 12 and the Northeast Bypass.

“We have very strong routes into all parts of Minot,” he said.

The fire department’s goal is a 5- to 8-minute response time to any city location.

The city has access to federal Community Development Block Grant money to help pay for construction and equipment. However, once built, the federal government would require the city to begin staffing the station. The annual expense of adding a dozen beginning firefighters would be in the neighborhood of $197,000 in the first year.

“Before we go into that, we have to go through the council and make sure they are committed to this fire station,” Craven said. “We would be looking at the next budget cycle. We would be looking at all 12 at one time. We have been attempting to hire two to three firefighters a year to build up to this. We haven’t been able to do that.”

In addition to hiring the firefighters, he said, the city would have to run a fire academy to train them.

A motion to proceed passed the committee with no objection.

“I think it’s a good deal,” council member Dave Lehner said of a new station. “I have been pushing for this for a long time.”

In other business, the committee voted to recommend the council waive a requirement for a fire access road and water supply to a 5,000-square-foot maintenance and office facility to be built as part of the new Minot Country Club.

The facility, served by North Prairie Rural Water, does not have a cost-effective option for providing water service adequate for fire fighting. It also would be expensive to improve 27th Street Southeast, a dirt road that often floods in the spring.

The recommendation of the committee is for the city to enter a legal agreement with the country club, providing that the club will improve the road and establish fire-fighting water capacity when it becomes feasible.

The committee voted against a special permit to allow a family to keep a pit bull in city limits after learning that the city lacks legal authority to grant exceptions to the prohibited animals ordinance.