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Ranchos Fire wants a bigger station than planned

by Christy Chalmers

Plans to replace the existing Gardnerville Ranchos fire station have been postponed while Douglas County leaders consider a last-minute alternative.

Fire officials were planning to replace the station at 941 Mitch Drive with a larger structure that would house a paramedic substation in addition to the Ranchos Fire Rescue department. East Fork Fire and Paramedic District Chief Jim Reinhardt said demolition of the existing station was expected to start in early August, but Ranchos Fire Rescue issued a counterproposal July 21 asking the district to instead consider building the new station on a site across the street.

In a letter to Douglas County Manager Dan Holler, Ranchos Fire Rescue President Bob Spellberg said the group’s members think the existing fire station could be used for storage and work space, saving the district the cost of renting space for those functions at the county yard.

The group suggested the new station could instead be built on two acres that are part of a 22-acre parcel owned by the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District. The current station is on 1.4 acres next to the district office. The 22 acres are northwest of the site.

Reinhardt said the request will delay the construction plans and could cost more than the $1 million budgeted for the current plan, though he didn’t have additional cost estimates available.

“We had everything ready to go to bid when this came forward,” he said. “What it did was set back our timetable a little bit, and it will ultimately cost a few dollars more because of the site work the engineers will have to do.”

In a memo to the county commission, Holler recommended approval of the relocation if the Ranchos GID board will give the land to the fire district. In exchange, the county would work with GID planners on a conceptual plan for using the remaining 20 acres. Potential uses include library, law enforcement, park or community facilities.

Holler said the change could also result in a three- to six-month delay in construction.

“The question is, will we be building in the winter or not? If we don’t build in the winter, that will push it (the time frame) out,” said Holler. “That’s kind of the question we’ll have to look at.”

Commissioners are scheduled to discuss the request Thursday. The Ranchos board meets Aug. 11. If they agree, a written contract could be signed by the end of the month.