by Terri Wiebold
It began with a community meeting in May of 2004 to gain support for a South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) special district mill levy increase.
Today, more than four years later, residents are still recounting promises of a new fire station in Castle Pines North (CPN) and SMFR is continuing to work toward better service for the community.
The goal of quicker response times and improved service to the community continue to be the driving factors behind negotiations for a new station in CPN, but according to SMFR a second station may no longer be the answer.
“There have been many changes in our organization since the time discussions of a new station began,” said SMFR Chief Dan Qualman. “We have undergone various administrative as well as organizational changes, many which have had an impact on the Castle Pines North community.”
The recent consolidation of SMFR and Parker Fire Department that led to the formation of the Parker-South Metro Fire Authority (Authority), as well as the re-allocation of some district resources has fire officials closely examining how best to proceed.
According to Qualman, the Authority just completed a 10-month study to evaluate total response times in CPN using existing and improved resources. In late July, Authority officials met with CPN city council members to present conclusions and recommendations of the study.
Assistant chief of the Authority, Mike del’Orfano, presented three possible options the Authority is considering to council which included:
Continue with the land acquisition for the proposed station 43 (located at Hidden Pointe Boulevard and Monarch Boulevard).
Relocate the existing station 36 to a more central location (possibly the northwest corner of Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard known as CC-20).
Make no additional changes with respect to fire station locations, while continuing to monitor and improve response times in the CPN community.
According to del’Orfano, due to lack of call volume in the area, the Hidden Pointe and Monarch Boulevard location is not the “best solution.”
The Authority recently filed a “letter of intent to purchase” with the developer of the CC-20 parcel to hold the property while they go through the process of review for it, according to Qualman. “This [more central location] is truly a compromise…it meets the need to improve service to the Castle Pines North community, while allowing us to be fiscally responsible as a district,” he said.
The option to continue efforts to improve service with existing resources without building or relocating a station is a viable option as well, said del’Orfano, “given the improvements we have accomplished to date.” Specifically, bringing the MetCom state-of-the art dispatch center on-line and fully operational has reduced the time it takes to process and respond to emergency calls in the CPN area. By the end of 2007, SMFR reduced response times on average by 30 seconds.
Additionally, del’Orfano noted the re-assignment of an ambulance providing advanced life support capabilities to CPN’s station 36. On average, about half of the calls in CPN are medical service calls.
Bringing the issue full circle, the Master Association will host a community meeting with the Authority on Thursday, August 7 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center to allow residents to review recommendations and to ask questions and provide feedback. Until the Authority makes a final decision, station 36 will continue to provide services to CPN.
For a complete time line, go to www.cpnhoa.org.