Renovations on the City of Kent’s West Side Fire Station are complete, and the building is open as of March 17.
The station has been undergoing renovations since July but will again supplement the city’s emergency services.
Fire Chief Bill Myers mentioned the completion at the March 16 city council meeting, when he took the community comment podium to talk about training exercises the department had carried out.
Myers thanked Council Member Gwen Rosenberg for participating in the training exercise, and at the end mentioned the completion of Fire Station No. 2.
“Tomorrow we will be opening Station No. 2,” Myers said. “So that is some good news that I am very excited about.”
Myers thanked Public Service Director Melanie Baker for her help in pushing the project and former fire chief John Tosko, who he said “paved the way for all this.”
Changes to the building, located at 418 N. Mantua St., included a new roof, a building addition and a number of interior updates.
The renovations were mildly controversial in the city, as architects and historic preservationists, including Architectural Review Board Chair Howard Boyle, hoped to preserve its distinctive mid-century style. But cost and safety concerns won out.
The vast majority of Kent’s EMS fleet is located at Fire Station No. 1, while the West Side Station houses one fire engine, one ambulance and one “light vehicle,” according to the fire department’s website.
The second station will allow faster response to those on the western end of the department’s 24-square-mile service area, which serves the City of Kent, Franklin Township and Sugar Bush Knolls.
Myers said the station would have a public open house on May 7 from 9 a.m. to noon so residents could get to know the station.
“I think [the council members] are going to really like the changes, and I know the firefighters are very excited, and they are also very appreciative, so thank you,” Myers said.
Owen MacMillan is a reporter with the Collaborative News Lab @ Kent State University, producing local news coverage in partnership with The Portager.