The Cortez Fire Protection District held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday to officially begin the construction of the new fire station.
Several members of the district board attended, along with the new building’s contractors and a few interested citizens, including Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane. They used red shovels to symbolically break ground on what will become part of the new building’s training area on North Washington Street. The actual start date for the construction project is Monday, when Weeminuche Construction Authority will begin demolition on the current administration building and parking lot.
Kyle Blackmer, project manager for the new fire station, said he was excited to get started on the 11-month contract.
“I grew up here, my kids are growing up here – I’m going to be able to drive by this building for the rest of my life, knowing I was a part of it,” he said. “That’s really important to me, and one of the main reasons I really fought hard to try to get this project.”
He said the company would try hard not to disrupt traffic or cause a disturbance in the neighborhood during construction, which is scheduled to be complete by May 2018. The building will be on the site of the current administration building and parking lot. When it’s finished, the old station will be torn down. Administrative assistant Wendy Mimiaga said the space would likely be used for more parking.
The district’s administrative offices have moved to the Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce on 31 W. Main St., but the firefighters will operate out of the current station until the new one is complete, Mimiaga said.
“It’s so nice that we had all this property that we can build on and not interrupt operations,” she said.
The new fire station project is being funded by a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, as well as a lease-purchase agreement and the district’s own tax revenue. It will cost an estimated $4 million.