Commission OKs new Ranchos fire station site if land is donated |

Commission OKs new Ranchos fire station site if land is donated

by Christy Chalmers

Douglas County leaders say they’ll grant the Ranchos Fire Rescue department’s request to switch the site of a new fire and paramedic station if the land is donated.

The commission unanimously agreed Thursday to the change, which was proposed in July.

Plans approved in March call for the existing Ranchos fire station at 941 Mitch Drive to be replaced with a larger structure that will also house a paramedic substation. Ranchos members asked the commission to reconsider, allowing the old building to remain for storage and repair space.

The new structure could instead be built on two acres that are part of a 22-acre parcel northwest of the current site. The land is owned by the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District.

The arrangement would give the station more space – the current building occupies 1.4 acres – and the GID is willing to donate the land in exchange for county help developing the other 20 acres.

Bruce Nystrom, chairman of the GID board and a member of Ranchos Fire Rescue, said he thinks the donation will be approved.

“Ultimately, it’s going to save a lot of money,” he said. “There are some people who have some issues with us donating the land, but I hope that they will see the validity of it. When the fire department vacates the building, it can still be used at no cost to the county for things like storage and repairs.”

The change also means the project would be delayed from three to six months. East Fork Fire Chief Jim Reinhardt said the current plans were ready to bid, but the changes mean additional site work will have to be done and adjustments made to the bid documents.

He provided a schedule that shows construction on the new site would start in May 2000. If the current plan is followed, demolition of the old building could happen in December, followed by construction of the new building.

The change will also cost more than the $1 million budgeted for the new station, but Reinhardt said the extra expense will probably be balanced by what the county saves in demolition costs on the old station.

Commissioner Steve Weissinger, who lives in the Ranchos, noted the new station is expected to serve at least 30 years in the county’s most populated area, and more land would be an asset.

“The package is so much superior that the decision makes itself,” said Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen.

The Gardnerville Ranchos GID board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the land donation. The board will meet at 6 p.m. in the district office next to the fire station, 931 Mitch Drive.