Lincoln has christened its first new fire station in 22 years.
A ceremony Tuesday marked completion of the new home for the Air Park area's Fire Station 11. The site at 4600 W. Adams St. is a replacement for the existing station a mile away, just west of the Lincoln Airport.
Instead of cutting a ribbon, Mayor Chris Beutler and other city officials uncoupled two lengths of fire hose. Firefighters will begin taking calls from the new station in a week or two.
It's the first of five new stations the city will open in the coming years.
“Today is an exciting day for our fire department,” Beutler said. “It’s the beginning of a series of changes that will make Lincoln so much better.”
Station 11 caters to an area that is somewhat secluded from the rest of Lincoln because of the airport and Interstate 80.
Ron Trouba, president of the Lincoln Fire Fighters Association, said the new location will allow for better response times and is a safer environment for firefighters.
At the old station, rescue workers had to wait for a security gate to open before they could leave the airfield, delaying their arrival in emergencies.
“Response times in Lincoln have always been good, but slowly they’re flattening out with the growth of the city,” Beutler said.
Other features of the new station include a room with a separate ventilation system to remove carcinogens from firefighters' gear, and improved bays for trucks.
“When you look at stations across the city, a lot of them are in poor shape and haven’t been updated in 60 years,” Trouba said. “We’re trying to make this a better workplace for our firefighters, 365 days a year.”
Replacing Station 11 has been discussed since at least 2006, and the station was in danger of being closed because of budget cuts in 2011. But in 2014, plans were set to vacate the station in order for it to be replaced.
The four other new stations will be paid for using a quarter-cent sales tax that voters approved in 2015.
Those stations are: Station 10, 4421 N. 24th St.; Station 12, 4405 S. 84th St.; joint fire and police Station 15, 6601 Pine Lake Road; and northeast Lincoln Station 16.
“This is just the beginning of a wave of renewal in our firefighting services,” Beutler said.