The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 13, 2013

Lions Park isn’t the ideal location for a fire station

ENID, Okla. — The city of Enid intends to build a new fire station on the grounds of Lions Park on West Maine.

In court documents filed May 10, City Attorney Andrea Springer asked the district court to vacate the plat, or land plan, of the roughly half an acre that comprises the park.

The document also states the city’s intent to build a new station there.

The city examined other properties in northwest Enid, but Fire Chief Joe Jackson cited drainage problems or reluctant landowners not wanting to sell.

Residents near Lions Park and North Enid Lions Club have organized their fight against the firehouse plan.

The new station would replace the department’s half-century-old Station No. 4, currently located nearby at 2205 W. Garriott.

It is comprised of almost five acres of flat, open park space fronted by a small firehouse where it currently sits.

If the city relocates, the narrow strip of land could become a valuable commodity near the Garriott and Cleveland Street intersection. Developers may be interested in that prime park space that could be coupled with the Courts properties for possible future retail development.

The Garriott site has been described as too narrow, although we wonder if a multi-story station could be built there.

We have concerns about the Lions Park location at Maine and Arthur, which is tucked away in a quiet residential area instead of being located on a major north-south or east-west arterial street. The former thoroughfare of Maine Street was blocked at the railroad line near the park, preventing eastbound travel. It’s almost like the parkland is on an arterial peninsula.

Normally, a fire station would be located near the center of its service territory, with good access in all four directions. In this case, emergency vehicles would have to go west through a residential neighborhood, and then north or south before going east. That wastes critical time in an emergency situation.  

We’d hate to have a medical call or fire on the east-side of Maine just across the tracks. We’re not sold that Lions Park is the best place for a fire station.

For that reason, we’re recommending a task force comprised of two city commissioners, the fire chief, the city manager and a local insurance expert representative to explore more ideal locations.

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