Fire board plans first steps to build a Silverthorne fire station
As residents at the north end of Summit County continue to advocate for a fire station in Silverthorne, the Summit Fire & EMS board met to discuss the next steps of creating a solution.
Fire Chief Travis Davis said the first priority is to have a truck housed somewhere in town in order to help with insurance ratings, since residents north of a 5-mile radius of the Dillon station have a lower rating. Proximity to a fire station and fire hydrants have some impact on cost of property insurance, but other factors like wildfire risk also play into costs.
For community members that live north of Interstate 70, traffic congestion near Exit 205 has brought more concerns about not having a station in Silverthorne. Currently, the Dillon fire station serves emergencies that happen on the north end of the county, including Silverthorne and Heeney.
“No. 2 priority is continue the work that we’re doing on this station, get past the conceptualizing step, nail something down (and) work on the funding mechanisms that are out there,” Davis added. “And of course, No. 3 is build. Once we get to that point, halfway through the process, we’re going to have to take a hard look at what staffing is going to look like.”
Davis presented to the Silverthorne Town Council last week and said over time, expectations for what was to be built in Silverthorne have changed. What was originally planned to be a surge station — or a station that is not fully staffed but has emergency service capabilities — turned into the expectation of a fully staffed station, which costs more money.
To accommodate, Davis told the board that another option would be to have a two-bay station with three bedrooms to start, and that would allow Silverthorne to have something for the short-term with the availability for expansion in the future. Board members agreed that this should be the path forward for now.
“I think that as we were looking at this, we’re thinking a little bit more long-term and trying to build this thing out in such a way where it can meet our needs 25 years from now,” Davis said.
As for funding, board president Lori Miller said that currently, there is about $4 million budgeted to go toward the fire station, and the board briefly mentioned a bond issue sometime in the future. Davis said the department will also continue to pursue grant funding to help with the costs. Summit Fire & EMS also plans to dedicate space on its new website to publish updates on the Silverthorne station to help provide additional information to the community.
“I do believe that (the town of Silverthorne and the Summit Fire & EMS board) need to work together,” Miller said. “Our first immediate concern for the community is to get a fire truck and the basics because that will address the (insurance) issues.”
Several dozen community members attended the fire board meeting as well as the Town Council meeting last week. Some community members expressed during public comment that Summit Fire & EMS and leaders at the town of Silverthorne seemed divided, even though both have expressed that expanded services on the north end of Summit County was a priority.
“The more I talk to (Silverthorne town manager Ryan Hyland), the more I realize that our perception of how things have transpired, I think there’s been a lot that has been lost over the years in context and changes of administration,” Davis said. “So regrettably, I wish we would have all realized this prior to any of the recent events, but we acknowledge that it’s in the best interest to move forward.”
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