New fire station will replace station at Higgins Corner
The Higgins Corner Fire Station, near Highway 49 and Combie Road, will be replaced with a new facility following the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s purchase of a seven-acre unimproved lot previously owned by Nevada County.
According to the State Public Works Board, the purchase was approved in December with escrow finalizing last month. The new site on 23036 West Hacienda Drive is about a mile east of the Higgins Fire Protection District’s current station.
The state paid $989,000 — about $900,000 of which went to Nevada County — for the purchase, as well as escrow and administrative fees.
The new station will continue to be a joint operation between Higgins and Cal Fire.
The fire district placed a measure on the March ballot that would have enacted a special parcel tax to help fund the district and increase some of its services. Not all votes have been counted, though initial results showed the measure currently failing with 57.59% voting “yes.” The measure needs to pass by two-thirds.
According to Higgins Fire Chief Jerry Good, the plans for the new facility were not disclosed before the ballot measure went to a vote because the purchase was not yet finalized. According to state documents, the project has been in the works since 2017.
“We knew that they were looking and had other properties they looked at, but as to what (the California Department of General Services) does is way above our pay grades even at this level,” Good said. “There’s no reason to if we don’t know for sure. Why put something out that we’re not sure of? We want to be truthful and transparent.”
It was the district’s fourth attempt in 10 years to get approval for a tax measure.
“Part of the reason (for the replacement) is the current station is over 40 years old, probably closer to 50,” Good said. “We’ve had talks for the last 20 years about rebuilding the station.”
According to the project proposal, Cal Fire originally planned to upgrade the current joint station but found that option not viable due to functional, seismic and structural deficiencies.
The station is intended to include a three-bay apparatus building, a mess hall, a 12-bed barracks and a generator/storage building. The upgrades come as the state fire agency looks to standardize its stations, hoping to host each station on at least five acres of land with dedicated forester office buildings and storage facilities. Their current site is on 3.8 acres and was built in 1948.
The project is estimated to begin construction in November 2022 and be completed in May 2024.
Good said residents would not notice any changes in service.
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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