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Davenport leaders cut the ribbon Thursday on the new $10.7 million Fire Station 3 they said will improve response times, keep the community and firefighters safe, and be a “keystone project” for an expanding north Davenport. Nearly 200 residents, city staff, police officers, firefighters and retirees crowded into the station’s massive Apparatus Bay to cut the ribbon on Feb. 8. The event came some 17 months after the city celebrated the state-of-the-art station’s groundbreaking at 300 42nd St. Visitors, many with children in tow, also took advantage of self-guided tours before catching shuttles back to their vehicles parked just a block away at NorthPark Mall. Firefighters are expected to begin moving into the new station soon. The new location, which sits within a residential area ripe for development, will replace the city’s current Fire Station No. 3 at 3506 Harrison St. It was built 60 years ago. Among its challenges are reduced response times due to one-way traffic on Harrison Street, potential flooding from nearby Duck Creek, and the fact that the old building no longer meets the needs of the community, a modern workforce and their modern firefighting equipment. The Station 3 ribbon-cutting opened with an honor guard accompanied by bagpiper Derek Grant. Davenport Police and Fire Department Chaplain Matthew Peterson blessed the building, which he said “is going to be more than a building to hold gear and fire trucks. There'll be men and women working here and helping the community stay safe.” He asked God to bless the firefighters, and “keep them safe from all danger. And when they come back to this building let it be a place of peace, let it be a place of comfort where they might rest from their duties.”
Dream becomes realityFire Chief Michael Carsten emceed the event. “The dream of a new Fire Station 3 has finally become a reality and will soon be operational,” he told the crowd. “As you look around this facility you will notice more than 11,000 square feet of space designed to meet the needs of our public safety responders, our city staff and our citizens.“ Its location was carefully selected by planners he said “to address the needs of our city,” and to improve response times, it is strategically positioned on major thoroughfares in a growing section of Davenport. The new station sits between Brady Street and Welcome Way. The design and construction was the result of input from focus groups, city staff and firefighters who participated in the project every day. “They worked closely with builders to provide a building for our current needs and our future needs and a keystone project for the surrounding area,” Mr. Carsten said. Planners also focused on firefighter safety. “Living quarters are designed to eliminate exposure from potential contaminants and to accommodate our co-ed workforce in a home-like atmosphere,” the chief said. There is room to accommodate up to nine firefighters in individual dorm-like rooms, and the station includes a large, well-equipped kitchen and dining area, space for fire department, police and city operations and training, and a weight room. Mr. Carsten thanked the project’s designer OPN Architects and the builder, Tricon Construction of Cedar Rapids as well as the various subcontractors. They include Quad Cities-based IMEG, which provided structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, civil and technology engineering design services, geotechnical and topographic survey services, and a soil boring study for the project.
Community room dedicatedAs a result of all their efforts, the chief said, “community members have a building designed to showcase their fire department and a community space for public meetings.” Mr. Carsten drew special attention to the new 60-seat community space which was dedicated Thursday to former Fire Marshal Michael J. Hayman. He died in 2017 at age 62. “Chief Hayman understood the importance of prevention and education for our community,” the current chief said. “These tasks are not fascinating nor are they glamorous, but he clearly knew that they were the most important aspects of public safety.” The Hayman family crowded the front rows at the grand opening event. Son Trevin Hayman told those in attendance: “My father had many great qualities, but two of his best were selflessness and his desire to help others. It makes me proud to know that his legacy is to continue to support those qualities just as this fire station community room will continue to serve and support the citizens of Davenport.” Other speakers marveled at the work that went into completing such a large, complex project in the middle of a residential and commercial area. “What this site looked like 17 months ago was essentially an empty old parking lot that was falling apart,” added Davenport’s Assistant Public Works Director Clay Merritt. “And to see it then 'til now is a huge transformation and throughout those 17 months a tremendous amount of people have been able to put their time and their effort and their energy toward getting us here today.” Planning for the project began much longer ago than that, said Mayor Mike Matson. “The theme for today, I believe, is perseverance, dedication, commitment and then excellence,” he said. He lauded the community-wide input and support to help create what he called a “community safety center” within the multifaceted multiuse space. The seeds for the new station were sown more than a dozen years ago by a blue-ribbon task force looking to modernize the department and decrease response times. Back then, Mr. Matson said, “We envisioned more response to the northern spread out part of our cities and now we have it.”
Expansion key to locationToday, the new Station 3 will be instrumental in protecting the safety of “all of our residents and our businesses as we expand west and north,” Mr. Carsten added. Landon Burg, of OPN Architects, Inc., a chief designer on the project, credited firefighters, city leaders and staff for the project’s successful completion and design. “We believe that if you get the right people in the room at the same time, we can create amazing results,” Mr. Burg said. “The city continued to challenge us to create a design that will set the tone for future development,” he added. In turn, the firm also challenged the city to think about ways to get more from the safety center’s design. “It’s more than just how something looks,” he said. Firehouses, in particular, present challenges and it’s also why they’re fun to design, Mr. Burg said. “They combine work, training, living, playing, sleeping. There are so many functions so it’s important to make sure we get it right,” he said. Designers also were aware that a firehouse is a second home, so they “made safety and physical wellness and mental health our top priorities,” Mr. Burg added. One way the station addresses that is through a well-appointed weight room on the ground floor. The completed project got high marks from the large crowds that toured the facility to talk to firefighters stationed throughout three stories. They eagerly chatted with visitors – many who told the QCBJ they had been watching the station’s progress for months – about the building and its new features, which include:
- Three double-deep drive-through bays, with room to house a command vehicle, pumper engine and aerial apparatus.
- A mezzanine in the apparatus bay and the egress stair both offer built-in training props, in addition to a training stair, hose drying and roof access.
- Living quarters for up to nine men and women firefighters designed for quick movement through the building.
- Decontamination and storage rooms where turnout gear can be placed to keep carcinogens and other toxins away from living areas.
- Large glass overhead doors and windows that showcase the station’s fire apparatus.
- The 60-person Michael Hayman Community Room that can also serve as a storm shelter.