Dubuque officials are looking to spend close to $500,000 to renovate one of the city’s older fire stations.
Dubuque City Council members earlier this month voted, 7-0, to set a public hearing for the approval of the Fire Station No. 6 external stairwell addition project, estimated to cost $462,662.
Dubuque Fire Station No. 6, 1500 Rhomberg Ave., was originally constructed in 1905. Fire Chief Rick Steines said the station is geographically important for providing quick response capabilities to many properties in Dubuque’s North End and Point areas.
“It’s good to have an engine out in that neighborhood,” Steines said. “Most of the buildings out there have an age to them, so a fire there would likely spread a little faster.”
However, over time, the station has continually been subject to water damage, which has rotted several wooden sections of the structure. In particular, a wooden staircase has significantly deteriorated over time, and in 2018, a facility-needs assessment of the station concluded that the stairwell was in need of replacement.
The proposed project would see the interior stairwell removed and a new enclosed exterior staircase constructed on the side of the building. Additionally, Steines noted that some other smaller repairs will be conducted to improve the foundation of the station and upgrade electrical wiring.
Along with installing a new staircase, Steines said the project will create additional space inside the station, providing easier access to different portions of the building and allowing more space for fire department equipment.
“The building was originally built for a horse cart with a chemical engine in it,” Steines said. “Today’s engines are longer and wider.”
City Council Member Ric Jones, who served on the Dubuque Fire Department for 31 years, said more and more older fire stations are becoming cramped by the increasing size of fire engines over time.
“The fire trucks just keep getting bigger,” Jones said. “That kind of space is needed now, where it wasn’t before.”
The project has been budgeted by the city as a capital improvement project. City Council members will review plans and specifications for the project at the public hearing on June 7.
If the project is approved, city officials intend to award a contract to a bidder on June 21, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2021.