Tuesday, November 17, 2009

College Hill's new green fire station a 'significant investment'

The City of Cincinnati dedicated its newest public building on Monday with a community open house for Fire Station No. 51, prominently located at the corner of Hamilton and Llanfair avenues in College Hill.

A crowd of more than 200 toured the 12,000-square-foot facility, which is three times larger than the current single-bay station at 1654 Marlowe Avenue.

"It's unbelievable," said Amy Finnegan, president of the College Hill Forum. "We have waited a long time for this."

New features include a dayroom, conference room, fitness room, and kitchen for the firefighters, who typically spend at least one-third of their careers in-house.

The station is also better integrated into the community.

"I was talking with retired councilmember Tom Luken, and he was saying that he never knew where the firehouse was in this community," said Cincinnati Fire Department Chief Robert Wright. "Well, now he knows. He pointed that out, that finally it took a place of prominence in the community, so that people would know that the Fire Department was here to protect them."

Safe in multiple ways

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory said that public safety is the City's number one priority, and the addition of Ambulance 51, multiple bays, and better ingress and egress will improve response times to the station's service area.

"This new firehouse will dramatically improve the ability of the Cincinnati Fire Department to serve this neighborhood and the surrounding communities," he said.

Mallory also said that the station will be the City's first public building to pursue U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold certification, noting such green features as an innovative rain collection system and rain gardens, pervious concrete parking lot, vegetated and reflective roofs, low E triple-pane glass, and natural lighting.

Modeling has shown that the new building will be 28 percent more energy efficient than typical new building construction.

A significant investment

City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. said that Fire Station No. 51 represents a significant investment and anchor for the business district.

"So, as this neighborhood continues to thrive with investments from public and private sources, it really helps to raise all boats," he said.

Everyone in attendance seemed to agree.

"We want to be a positive anchor point for this community, and we hope that development is one of the big things that grows from this investment from the City of Cincinnati," Wright said.

"College Hill is one of the greatest communities of the City of Cincinnati," Mallory said. "College Hill deserves this investment that's been made by the City of Cincinnati. And I can't think of a better partner to have in any community than the Cincinnati Fire Department."

"This anchor builds our community," Finnegan said. "It's a place for us to gather. It's a piece of pride for us. We have to thank the City of Cincinnati for all of our opportunities that they give us."

This is the second fire station built in the City since 1982. Fire Station No. 9 in Paddock Hills opened in February 2008 and has achieved LEED certification.

Previous reading on BC:
Cincinnati, College Hill celebrate groundbreaking for new LEED fire station (2/9/09)