ALBERT LEA, Minn. - A new fire station has been an ongoing conversation in Albert Lea for some time and now a big step forward.
The city narrowed the upcoming project down to two sites. One option is an open space the city owns, that has been vacant for about 10 years. The second option is on space where buildings are up for sale.
Chad Adams is the City Manager of Albert Lea. He says the city is looking at a number of factors when deciding between the two locations like long term cost, tax base in the area, and which site is the best at accommodating fire services.
The city is also looking beneath the surface.
"As far as we know, on both sites right now the soil is not ideal," he said. "One sight we have more information on...the soils are going to have to be replaced or mitigated...we are going to get more analysis in the next few weeks."
Adams said the city hopes to decide on a location within the next 45 days.
A new station for the city is needed for the space. The fire station is currently under the city offices and offer little room for gear, equipment, and firefighters.
Adams said the lack of room makes it difficult to sanitize equipment after a call when having to respond to another incoming call. Other city officials say the tight spaces between fire trucks make it difficult for firefighters to operate efficiently.
"There's a little bit of a delay there. And every second, and every minute counts in terms of how fast a fire will grow and provide more damage. And create more safety risk to not only property but potentially lives and human health.", he said.
Adams said the city hopes to begin construction in the Spring or Summer of 2018 and have the new station up and running by June 2019.
In the meantime, he said the way the current station operates now poses no serious risk.
"It's a moderate but increasing risk," he said.