Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough County Commission votes against Fletcher Avenue fire station plans

LAKE MAGDALENE — A once-controversial plan to build a new fire station next to Hamner Tower Park is dead.

With county revenues falling and layoffs looming, Hillsborough County officials want to spend the money earmarked to buy the land on Fire Rescue operating costs instead.

The 1.7 acres is at the northwest corner of Fletcher Avenue and N Boulevard, just south of the park. By backing out of a contract to buy the land, the county forfeited a $25,000 deposit.

Officials also say the Fletcher Avenue station is no longer needed. That's because three fire stations that opened during 2006 in Northdale, on Ehrlich Road and at U.S. 41 and Chapman Road all have helped improve response times in the Lake Magdalene area.

In urban areas like Lake Magdalene, county firefighters have a goal of responding to calls within 6 minutes at least 62 percent of the time. Currently, the county averages 6.2 minutes responding to calls near Lake Magdalene and arrives in less than 6 minutes 55 percent of the time.

"This area is not being jeopardized," Hillsborough Fire-Rescue Chief William Nesmith said.

Attorney Robert S. Wise, who had a contract to sell the 1.7 acres to the county, said the area near Lake Magdalene still needs its own fire station. Wise said he had an expert in information systems at Carnegie Mellon University analyze the county's response times for the area. While firefighters arrived within 5 minutes 38 percent of the time, 6.2 percent of the time they took more than 10 minutes to respond, he said.

"It's very short-sighted of the county to do this," Wise said after the vote. "It's going to cost more in the long run."

But the fire station concerned some neighbors who worried about encroachments on Hamner Tower Park, which one resident described as a long-standing animal and bird sanctuary and a beautiful place that people had banded together to preserve. Residents who attended last week's hearing welcomed the commission's vote.

"I was never in support of that location at all, and I am very thrilled that this is taking place," said Anna Arcuri, who lives on Sylvia Lane, just west of the park.

County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan, who voted against killing the deal along with Commissioner Al Higginbotham, was not persuaded. Hagan said he understood delaying plans to build new stations that the county could not afford to staff.

"What I don't understand is aborting plans for a station that has been identified as being needed since, I think, going back to 2000," he said.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 269-5311.

Hillsborough County Commission votes against Fletcher Avenue fire station plans 07/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  3. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulffront hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests relax on the beach near the Don Cesar at St. Pete Beach. Guests at gulf-front hotels in St. Pete Beach can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas after the change was passed unanimously by the City Commission Tuesday night. Residents and other beachgoers who are not registered guests of the hotels continue to be barred from imbibing anywhere on the city's beaches.
  4. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  5. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    From left, Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact executive director, introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, PolitiFact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair; and Neil Brown, Tampa Bay Times editor and vice president, at the Poynter Institute on Tuesday.