COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Columbia City Council will spend $2.25 million for land in southwest Columbia to host several services.
The 9.6 acres of land at the southwest corner of Scott Boulevard and Route KK could soon be the home of a municipal service center, including a fire station, water tower and salt dome.
On Monday night, the council unanimously approved the purchase of land from Beacon Street Properties, in a deal that could close sometime in June. Mayor Brian Treece noted the company is currently leasing a home on the property to someone until June 30, and gave the city manager time to extend the sale closing until that lease ended.
Columbia Fire Department Chief Randy White said he wanted to move a crew into that house as soon as possible, keeping the station staffed with three people for 24 hours a day. A barn on the property could also house a fire apparatus.
White said the city grew farther southwest, and away from the fire stations in town. The new station will allow the Fire Department to quicken response times to emergency calls in the area.
"In that growth, you move away from existing stations, and that travel time distance gets long," White told ABC 17 News. "And so, in order to provide high quality service, you need to be in the proximity of the incidents where they happen."
White anticipated it will take more than two years to build a new station, at an estimated cost of $2.5 million.
Fifth Ward Councilman Matt Pitzer, who represents the area, said the new station will help ease fears of long emergency response times in the area.
"There are people who are, quite frankly, have been concerned about the types of emergency response services we've been able to provide," Pitzer said.
White said the department is still looking for land for another fire station in east or northeast Columbia. Sixth Ward Councilwoman Betsy Peters asked if the city should look into hiring a realtor to help them find suitable land for the station.