Tacoma, WA: The Board of Park Commissioners on Monday will receive information about a request from the City of Tacoma to build a fire station on an undeveloped part of the SERA Campus.
Fire Station 7, which serves a city area with the second-highest call volume, is undersized and does not have the capacity for the needed expansion.
The current station, built in 1959, shares a facility with the South Tacoma Library Branch at 5448 South Warner Street. A city review of publicly owned properties within the service area determined a corner of SERA Campus near South 58th and South Tyler streets would be suitable for relocating the fire station.
“We are excited about the new proposed fire station 7 that will house the additional emergency vehicles, equipment, and staff we need to effectively serve the growing South End community for years to come,” said Tacoma Fire Chief Tory Green.
Fire Station 7 has one engine company that responds to more than 3,500 emergencies each year. That far exceeds the department’s annual targeted standard of 2,500 calls. The existing 64-year-old station can only house one emergency apparatus but requires a second to serve the South End community properly and safely, which cannot be accommodated on the current site.
The 75-acre SERA Campus is home to STAR Center, Gray Middle School, the Boys & Girls Club’s Topping Hope Center, and a Metro Parks sports complex with multiple fields, tennis courts, a sprayground and playground.
On the northwest corner of the campus is a 7.8-acre stretch of hillside that has not been improved. Under consideration for Fire Station 7 are 2.27 acres of that land, which is often afflicted by illegal dumping.
“We recognize how valuable park land is to the community and believe the addition of a 24-hour emergency response facility at SERA would enhance the safety of the park,” said Chief Planning Officer Marty Stump. “SERA also is a designated site for disaster response, adding to the value of co-location of the emergency response facility on the campus.”
SERA Campus is already a designated crisis command site for natural disasters and other catastrophic events.
Metro Parks and the City have partnered in a similar manner in the past by locating Tacoma police substations at the Center at Norpoint, Stewart Heights Park and Wapato Park.
No recreational facility would be displaced if a fire station were to be built at the proposed SERA location. The master plan for the park recommends bicycle and pedestrian trails in the proposed area but Metro Parks has no identified funding to enhance that section of the SERA campus.
The possible land transfer stemmed from the City conducting a Fire Facilities Master Plan to establish a long-term strategy prioritizing which buildings need to be renovated or replaced to meet growing emergency response needs.
There are 17 active fire stations and nine support facilities throughout Tacoma.
Information on the proposed land transfer will be presented to the Park Board during a study session before Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Although the public is welcome to attend the meeting in person or online, no public comment can be taken at that time.
Community members can offer input on the proposal during a community meeting to be coordinated in late August. Those unable to attend the community meeting can view a link to the board study session presentation on an interactive Metro Parks website where they can provide input about the proposal. Comments may also be submitted by emailing Metro Parks at Communications@tacomaparks.com.
WHAT: Metro Parks Tacoma Park Board Study Session
WHEN: Aug. 14, 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Metro Parks Headquarters, 4702 S. 19th St., Tacoma