The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 25, 2013

City seeks land on South Hoover for fire station

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The city of Enid is nearing completion of a deal that would put its newest fire station on South Hoover, sparing Lions Park.

City Manager Eric Benson said Thursday both the landowner and the city have agreed on a price to purchase an acre of undeveloped land along Hoover, north of the railroad tracks and south of Garriott.

The city will end up spending between $100,000 and $120,000 for the land, Benson estimates. He said the parcel is “appropriate for the fire department’s needs.”

“We had previously looked at this parcel, but we couldn’t come to an agreement on it,” Benson said.

A new No. 4 Fire Station would replace the aging substation in the 2200 block of West Garriott.

Officials previously signaled their intent to build a new station on Lions Park, a secluded, small and triangular public park along Maine just east of Cleveland. The residents who live around the park publicly fought back against the plan by circulating a petition, speaking out at city commission meetings and preparing to attend a court hearing in August that could take the first step toward converting the park for other uses.

A neighborhood organizer declined to comment on Thursday’s news.

Since the Lions Park plan became public, Benson has pushed back against the perception the park was either the only or last choice.

“As we said early on, we’re looking at all options. And this was one that required some more germination,” he said Thursday.

The city manager also said he believes the city commission now would rather buy land to build a new station than take the park, which the city already owns.

Benson said the landowner on Hoover was “gracious” in negotiations.

“We’ve agreed upon a price and some considerations, and I’m very confident this will go through,” he said.

The current No. 4 Fire Station was built in 1960; its size limitations prevent it from housing modern firefighting vehicles. Department officials also said they need to move from Garriott because it is too busy of a street to turn onto when racing to fight a fire or respond to a vehicle accident.

Another reason for shuttering the current substation is because it is too close to Central Fire Station on East Garriott. If No. 4 moves to the location on South Hoover, it would be about a mile west of its current location.