City takes major step on new south Fargo fire station
Financing for the building and equipment with lower interest rates could save the city money.
FARGO — The long-talked-about new fire station needed in the far south end of Fargo is a step closer to reality.
The city commission on Monday night, April 18, voted unanimously to approve the sale of $8.1 million in bonds to finance the construction and equipping of the city's eighth fire station, to be built along 64th Avenue South.
Interim City Finance Director Steve Sprague said with rising interest rates, it should save the city money. He said it was the idea of former finance director Kent Costin to proceed with such a move.
The interest rate will be locked in at 3.04%, lower than an expected rate of 3.25%, Sprague said.
The city worked with Robert W. Baird & Co. on the "private placement" bond sale. The city has a track record with the company and had confidence with the firm in finding a suitable buyer for the bonds in a short period of time.
The fire station will be paid off in 15-years, or through 2037, with annual debt payments of about $680,000.
Fire Chief Steve Dirksen said after the meeting that the city has four current proposals from architects to design the structure. They hope to award a bid at the city commission's May 2 meeting.
Depending on how long design work takes and the availability of building materials because of supply chain issues, Dirksen said he's hoping construction can start this fall. However, he said it likely won't be completed until 2024.
He said they are estimating hiring 15 new firefighters to operate the station.
The final location of the station hasn't been finalized as the city is looking at two locations on city-owned properties along 64th Avenue, although he said it would be east of Interstate 29.
The bonds will cover not only the construction of the building, but also a new truck, equipment and architectural fees, Dirksen said.
Currently, the city's closest fire stations are in south-central Fargo near the intersection of 25th Street and 32nd Avenue, with another station in the southwest area near 45th Street South and 40th Avenue South.
Dirksen said this new station would also be helpful as the area west of I-29 is developing, including the new Fargo Sports Complex and the career workforce academy. The area east of the interstate is also the site of numerous new housing developments, as well as Davies High School.