City of Branson, Mo., breaks ground on new fire station
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - With the sounds of bells and sirens marking the official groundbreaking for Branson’s soon-to-be Fire Station #4, community leaders, emergency responders, elected officials, and private citizens cheered the digging of the first bucket of dirt during an official ceremony.
The event is long-awaited, as citizens and officials have worked toward making this station a reality for nearly two decades. The project was designated as a top priority and placed on a fast-track agenda by Branson’s current city administration. Fire Station #4 site is in Branson’s Ward 3 on Champagne Boulevard.
“Fire Station #4 will be important to reducing fire and emergency response times throughout Branson,” said Chief Ted Martin, who has served as Branson Fire Chief since 2012 and expresses appreciation for this new station now underway. “While Fire Station #4 is located in southwest Branson, the addition of another complete station, equipped with manpower, resources, and emergency vehicles, will enhance our current services that already excel in fire rescue operations, risk reduction, and emergency preparedness,” said Martin.
Each of Branson’s three existing Fire Stations includes a fire captain, an engineer, and two firefighters staffing two fire engines and a ladder truck 24 hours a day. The fire department has a total of 48 personnel within the Administration, Operations, Training / Safety, Technical Services, and Emergency Management Divisions.
“With this exciting kick-off, we are showing how Branson leadership is proving the commitment to moving at the speed of business, not the speed of government,” said Branson Mayor Larry Milton. “Throughout the city, there is terrific progress on many big projects that will boost this community for decades to come,” said Milton.
Dick and Dianne Gass have lived in Branson for more than 25 years near where the fire station will be built.
“I feel safer now,” said Dick Gass.
“So much safer just to know they’re going to be here in a few minutes,” said Dianne.
Dianne Gass said a station being closer gives them peace of mind.
“We’ve had some neighbors that have had problems, and they do get here as fast as they can, but it’s not the same. It’s just the right across the street,” said Dianne Gass.
Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin said this station has been 20 years in the making.
“We’re going to provide excellent fire rescue services to the southwest part of Branson, but it will also improve our effective response force citywide,” said Chief Martin.
The new station will give an average response time of 4.5 minutes. Where now, some areas have an average response time of eight to ten minutes. Chief Martin said the district will be adding 12 more firefighters and a new fire engine.
Neighbors, Dick and Dianne, can’t wait to actually see the station complete.
“It’s a public safety issue, and it’s important to everybody and our visitors,” said Dick Gass. “We have millions of visitors here. We have to take care of them too.”
“It’s going to save a lot of lives,” said Dianne Gass. “We feel so blessed that this is gonna happen after all these years.”
- The new Fire Station has a total projected budget of $5 million, to be funded from the half-cent Public Safety Sales Tax Branson residents passed in 2017. (Background: At the May 9 Board of Aldermen meeting, the Board passed an ordinance accepting a bid from Construct Companies, LLC for $4,059,673.77. The board previously approved a design contract with Hoefer Welker, LLC, for $505,500.) For more information on this and other capital projects, visit the new Capital Projects Tracker, a new online tool that allows citizens to follow dozens of City projects in real time. You can find it by clicking on the green “Capital Project Tracker” tab at the bottom of our website, BransonMo.Gov.
- Branson’s Fire Department was organized in 1912, shortly after the incorporation of the city. While originally it was largely a volunteer force, in 1993, the first career firefighters were hired to serve the community.
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