CKF&R's Tracyton meeting set for Monday

A public meeting to discuss the possible closure of Tracyton Fire Station 44 will begin at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

The district plans to have an open house at Station 44 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 24, and then move to Station 41 to begin the discussion about closing Station 44 at 5 p.m.

Station 44 is at 300 NW Tracy Street, and Station 41 is at 7600 Old Military Road.

The Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue District is considering the closure of Station 44, in the Tracyton area as a cost-savings measure.

The station is manned by all volunteer crews and discussion about closing the station for financial reasons surfaced last November during budget discussions for the current year's budget.

According to Assistant Chief Jay Lovato, the station is in need of repair and to make it safe, it would cost the district about $500,000. To find a new location and build another new replacement station would run about $1.5 million.

Lovato said the district wants to move volunteers from Station 44 into Station 41 and have a combined station to serve the Tracyton and Meadowdale areas. Station 41 is about 2 1/2 miles away from the Tracyton Station.

Fire district officials said the reduction in assessed value of property in the Central Kitsap district during the past five years has resulted in financial issues for the district. In all, the district has lost more than $1 million in tax revenues because of the drop is assessed value of property in the district.

A specific dollar figure for what will be saved if the station is permanently closed was not given and hasn't been calculated, said Lovato."It's just not as easy as a simple figure," he said, "given that this building is 51 years old and has safety requirements that have to be met which essentially means on-going costs if it stays open."

Station 44 is targeted for closure because it was built in 1963 and is much older than Station 41, which was built in 1979.

Fire Chief Scott Weninger said the meeting was being split so that those attending could see both stations before discussion about the closure. He said Station 44 is too small to host a public meeting and lacks space where audio visual equipment can be set up for the meeting.

Residents of both areas are asked to come with their questions and suggestions. Anyone needing information prior to the meeting should call 360-447-3550.

CKF&R recently reduced staffing minimums from 19 to 17 per shift which has meant closures of Chico Station 64 at 4065 Chico Way when there are not enough firefighters/EMTs available without the district having to pay overtime.

That decision was made by the district's administration without public input. No public open house was held prior to the Chico station decision. That station was built in 1969.



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