City Commission approves $4M+ bid for Transpark fire station, $10M for facility reconstruction

Bowling Green City Commissioner says construction of the new station will also act as a selling point of the park as a whole.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 8:57 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Conversations have been going on since last February regarding construction bids for a fire station in the Kentucky Transpark, though it wasn’t until the March 7 Bowling Green City Commission meeting that a decision was finally made.

Commissioners voted all in favor of an over $4 million bid to Sunbelt Construction to build Fire Station 8 in the Transpark.

“The BGFD is excited for the future,” said Bowling Green Fire Department Fire Chief Justin Brooks. “The support from City leadership has never been greater. A lot can be accomplished when we gather together as one team.”

“If you drive anywhere in Bowling Green, you realize how quickly we’re growing. So this is providing more services for the growth of Bowling Green,” said City Commissioner Melinda Hill. “It’s not just services, it’s upgraded services, we need the best of the best.”

While the current bid is more expensive than originally budgeted, Hill assures it was still the best offer.

“As all of our citizens know, everything’s more expensive now than it was in the past. All of the bids came over budget,” Hill said. “The city negotiated with all of the bidders that submitted bids, they negotiated and they came to this amount.”

The idea for a station in the Transpark came from the Bowling Green Fire Department previous chief, Chief Jason Colson, who current Fire Chief Justin Brooks says saw needs that weren’t being met.

“The mission at the Bowling Green Fire Department is ‘To Serve, Save, and Protect. To Make it Better.’ The Transpark is an area where we are not meeting our benchmarks regarding our response times,” Brooks said, “The ability for a crew to arrive on scene quicker in this area than our current response times, will provide greater safety to all of the firefighters responding.”

Hill said construction of the new station will not only help those living near the Transpark but also act as a selling point for the park as a whole.

“It is an attraction factor for companies looking to come to the transport, ‘Oh, wow, great. There’s a fire station right here,’ So that’s a big plus,” Hill said.

Brooks said construction is set to being on Station 8 in the coming weeks, with an understanding in the contract language that it will be done in 365 days.

Commissioners also all voted in favor of Municipal Order 2023-45 at the March 7 meeting, “expressing the desire and intent of the City of Bowling Green to finance costs related to the construction and reconstruction of two fire stations in an amount up to $10 million.”

Though Hill says the $10 million is an absolute maximum, and the order acts more as a stepping stone for future projects.

“We also want to rebuild the fire station on Porter Pike, and build a training facility on Porter Pike,” Hill said. “The intent to build, the $10 million, that is important for us so we can start looking at borrowing and also come up with good numbers for those two facilities.”

Currently, the Porter Pike Station serves as both a fire station and training center for the fire department. The new training center would serve as a joint training center for both BGFD and the Bowling Green Police Department.

“The Bowling Green Fire Department believes it’s our job to ‘Make It Better’ when we are called upon. The support for the new Fire Stations and the joint training facility is another example of many leaders coming together to better serve our citizens,” Brooks said.

The commission will begin a discussion on spending for the Porter Pike projects at the end of the 2022 - 2023 fiscal year.