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Fire Department Proposed New Station Updates

Posted on: August 27, 2020

Council Enters Into Three-Cities Agreement for New Fire Station Location

The City of Arden Hills

The Arden Hills City Council, at its August 24 Council Meeting, approved entry into a three-cities’ agreement that paves the way for a future fire station location in Arden Hills. The agreement allows for the purchase of the land, which includes a portion of land near Bethel University’s Anderson Center, located off of County Road E and Pine Tree Drive. The agreement also authorizes the City to pay the Lake Johanna Fire Department (LJFD) for its proportional share of the land purchase and future road relocation cost, not to exceed $341,000. 

Along with Arden Hills, the cities of North Oaks and Shoreview make up the other two cities privy to the agreement for the new station that will primarily serve Arden Hills and The cities of North Oaks and Shoreview are scheduled to approve the agreement at upcoming council meetings. 

The agreement follows on the heels of a needs assessment and search for land for a new station. The assessment concluded that the current station model was not sufficient to meet fire service needs for the next 50 years and recommended closing Station 4 (3615 Victoria St, Shoreview) and constructing a new headquarters with additional training, administrative and equipment space. After considering the needs assessment, the Lake Johanna Fire Department Board of Directors (of which, Arden Hills has one vote and North Oaks and Shoreview have one and two votes, respectively) and the three cities directed the fire chief to engage Bethel in discussions regarding the land. 

Following discussions with Bethel University, a tentative agreement was reached between the fire department and the University, and the fire department followed through with a purchase agreement. The purchase agreement allows the fire department a due diligence period that ended on August 21, 2020, and a closing date of no later than September 21, 2020. Following its due diligence, the fire department intends to move forward with the purchase of the land. 

The purchase of the land includes two costs: the first being the cost of the land at $1.35 million and the second being the department’s share of the cost to relocate the existing access road not to exceed $325,000. The fire department is also contributing $300,000 of its general fund money towards the land acquisition; this leaves the cost to the cities at $1.375 million, assuming the road relocation cost comes in at the maximum amount. Traditionally, the three cities of Arden Hills, North Oaks and Shoreview have funded the fire department’s operating and capital expenses. 

For the future station construction, the City will need to add money to the public safety capital budget; the first installment of this additional money ($50,000) was proposed by staff in the preliminary 2021 budget.  

Agreement highlights include the following:

  •  One city will bond for the station construction, and the other two cities will annually reimburse the financing city in-accordance with the cost share formula.
  •  The construction of the station will have a start date of no later than June 30, 2026, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon.  
  •  The City of Arden Hills will have the option to acquire the property and buildings should the LJFD no longer serve the cities and if a suitable successor organization cannot be identified to utilize the property.  
  •  Should the station construction not move forward, the City will have the option to acquire the land. If the City does not exercise this option and two-thirds of the cities agree to sell the land, then the land will be sold and each city will receive its proportional share of the proceeds.  
  • Prior to construction of the station, a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) will be needed by the three cities, which will further outline and identify responsibilities, operations and ownership of the new station. This JPA will also allow the cities to utilize bond funding for the project. This agreement is not needed at this time, and will be developed prior to the commencement of construction of the new station.  

Related Documents:

LJFD Needs Assessment(PDF)
Fire Department Needs Assessment Presentation Slides
Fire Department and Bethel Purchase Agreement (PDF)
Three Cities Agreement Pending Signatures (PDF)

Proposed Fire Station Details
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