www.montereycountyweekly.com March 28-April 3, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 When it was built in the 1970s, Seaside’s fire station on Broadway Avenue was situated in a central location, allowing for even response times to all areas of the city. But as the city continues its northern march into the former Fort Ord, firefighters have to travel further, increasing response times when every second counts in an emergency. According to fire department data, the average response time citywide from call to the first arriving units is 6 minutes and 51 seconds, while in the northernmost area of Seaside, that extends to 11 minutes and 34 seconds. (Monterey Fire Department, by comparison, averages 6 minutes, 42 seconds for small incidents, while larger incidents requiring more units average 10 minutes, 37 seconds). In 2022, the Seaside City Council approved conceptual designs for a second fire station at the corner of Gigling Road and First Avenue. The station took another step toward construction with the release of a mitigated negative declaration study on March 21. Public comment will be accepted through April 22. Such a study means the project is expected to have minimal environmental impacts. (The study can be found at ca-seaside.civicplus.com/802/ProjectOutreach, or in person at City Hall or the Seaside branch library.) According to the plans, the project will include a 13,010-square-foot fire station, as well as 54,106 square feet of training facilities. It will also construct a community room for public use, two apparatus bays and a three- to four-story training tower in the future. It will also have living quarters for firefighters, with nine personnel on duty. “Having the second fire station is going to not only help significantly with response times, but it also increases the number of firefighters on duty every single day,” Seaside Fire Chief Mary Gutierrez says. “It will give us more depth.” The Presidio of Monterey’s fire station, located a block away from the new station’s site, is leased from the City of Seaside. That station’s lease was set to end in August 2023, as Seaside plans out the massive Campus Town development on the property, but was extended for another two years. Gutierrez points to the number of new housing developments in the area that are in the pipeline, further necessitating a new station, including the Campus Town project on the former Fort Ord, which is expected to add up to 1,485 units, whenever it may be built. Even before the new residents move in, Seaside’s emergency calls continue to increase on an annual basis. In 2023, the department received 3,469 calls, 230 more than the previous year. With final designs nearly complete, now come decisions on how to pay for the station. The full project is estimated to cost about $30 million. Funding for construction and hiring firefighters will be discussed during City Council’s budget talks in May. The goal is to put the project out to bid in late summer, and have the first phase completed and staffed with firefighters in September 2025. Station Sparked Seaside’s second fire station takes a step toward construction with environmental documents. By Erik Chalhoub Seaside Fire Chief Mary Gutierrez shows the site of the city’s second fire station. “[The station] will allow us to have more firefighters and better assist our partners who assist us on a regular basis.” NEWS “It will give us more depth.” DANIEL DREIFUSS Fevers don’t punch out at 5:00. Neither do we. After-Hours Virtual Care available at Pediatrics – Monterey genpeds.stanfordchildrens.org Personalized Care: We get to know your pet’s unique needs and preferences to provide the perfect environment for them to feel relaxed and happy. Expert Staff: Our compassionate team of professionals is trained to care for pets of all shapes and sizes, including those with special medical needs. Clean & Safe Facilities: Your pet’s well-being is our top priority. Our facilities are meticulously maintained to ensure a clean and safe environment for your beloved companion. Outdoor Playtime: Our spacious, secured play area allows your pet to enjoy fresh air, exercise, and socialization while staying with us. PEt bOarding at Pacific Grove Animal Hospital Why we’re the best choice for pet boarding: 1023 Austin Avenue, Pacific Grove 831-318-0306 • www.pacificgroveanimalhospital.com VOTED MONTEREY COUNTY’S BEST VETERINARIAN THREE YEARS IN A ROW! ’23 ’22 ’21