Chief Mark King, of Southeast Thurston Fire Authority, appeared before the Rainier City Council Tuesday, Nov. 12, to ask for support in applying for a $900,000 capital facilities grant from the state that would help with the rebuilding and reopening of Lawrence Lake Fire Station No. 22 located at 17213 153rd Ave. SE outside Yelm.
“Without that fire station out at Lawrence Lake being open right now, it puts a lot more stress on Southeast County and the departments we have out here,” said Mayor Bob Shaw. “Getting that fire station reopened is just going to help southeast county.”
According to the SETFA website, round trip travel times to the Vail Road area in the Lawrence Lake coverage zone are about 40 minutes, excluding time at the scene. With traffic congestion on State Routes 507 and 510, members of the station fear any Interstate 5 obstructions could cause “dead stops” on the routes they take to provide emergency medical care and fire protection to the county’s more rural citizens.
“There are a number of objectives we’re trying to reach by opening that station and one is to ensure that resources are left in their assigned areas,” King said. “Currently if there is a call in Lake Lawrence the Rainier station is oftentimes running out to that call leaving this city and this area without any coverage.”
Grant writing is currently underway to help ease final costs that will exceed the Capital Budget funding of $252,000 that was awarded to Lawrence Lake Fire Station No. 22 for construction at the beginning of 2018.
A bond measure is planned for the November 2020 ballot.
“So eventually there will have to be a bond to pay for the remaining construction fee which we expect to be in 2020,” said King. “What we’re trying to do ahead of time is, get as much money as we can from impact fees and grants to bring the bond cost down so our citizens are paying as low as possible to support these projects.”
Southeast Thurston provides services to approximately 35,000 citizens and covers about 84 square miles.
This story was updated Nov. 20 with corrected information.