Friday, September 22, 2006

Move for fire operations recommended (Examiner: 9/21/06)

Move for fire operations recommended

By David Francis

Examiner Staff Writer

An Alexandria task force has recommended to the city that the fire department move fire-fighting operations from their Windsor Avenue facility to the Potomac Yard development in north Alexandria.

The fire department has been pushing for the station to move from Windsor Avenue, where they said facilities are antiquated, to Potomac Yard, where developers Pulte Homes and Centex Homes will provide $7 million for a state-of-the-art station, as well as additional money through tax credits.

The task force found the move will improve coverage in the city. The developers have also offered to build affordable housing units above the station, an offer which task force members have praised.

“This is a win-win situation for everybody,” task force member and Warwick Village Citizens Association member John Starcher said. “The city gets more bang for the buck.”

Starcher added he understood why citizens of the Del Ray neighborhood where the Windsor Avenue facility is located are upset to see the station move.

“There’s a bit of resistance to it, there’s a lot of emotional attachment,” he said. “It’s a move that you just can’t pass up.”

Indeed, Larry Attenburgh, president of the Del Ray Citizens Association, said moving the station was a bad decision.

“This decision is being made without a broader analysis of what the city needs for fire services,” he said. “We want what’s best for the city, but we don’t want to be a losing community became of that.”

The task force is set to review the proposal at its October meeting. If approved, it will be sent to the Alexandria

City Council.

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