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New fire station coming for Meadow Pointe in Pasco County

The fire chief says a response time of seven minutes is too long to get to the neighborhood. A new station is expected to open next summer.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 14, 2001


MEADOW POINTE -- Not too long ago, Meadow Pointe was considered too remote and too close to Hillsborough County to deserve its own fire station.

No longer.

The New Tampa neighborhood of 3,000 homes is within a year of getting a $600,000 station staffed round-the-clock by five firefighters and paramedics.

For years, a station in Pasco's Angus Valley neighborhood west of Interstate 75 served Meadow Pointe and other developments along County Line Road.

But with Meadow Pointe set to grow by 4,000 homes and the Seven Oaks development on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard by another 4,500 homes, Pasco County officials thought they couldn't wait any longer.

The original hangup about placing a station in Meadow Pointe was its proximity to Hillsborough, which would chop off the station's service territory at the county line.

"That area is growing so dramatically right now. While we're not crazy about putting trucks on the county line ... this is far from a being a desolate area," Fire Rescue Chief Anthony Lopinto said.

With heavy traffic at the State Road 54/Interstate 75 interchange, firefighters and paramedics from Angus Valley often need more than the county average of seven minutes to reach Meadow Pointe.

"We're not comfortable with the response times," Lopinto said. "We haven't had any catastrophic event, but that doesn't mean it can't happen."

Placing a fire station in Meadow Pointe could help lower homeowners' insurance rates, a rate also determined by the proximity of fire hydrants, said Rick Caravona, the battalion chief stationed in Angus Valley.

"How much of a break I can't tell you that," Caravona said.

The station will occupy land donated by developer Don Buck at Meadow Pointe and Aronwood boulevards, near the northern entrance to the neighborhood west of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Lopinto said the 4,500-square foot building, large enough for a fire engine and a rescue truck, is a "prototype station" that mimics the county's concrete block fire house at River Ridge in west Pasco.

The county plans to solicit bids from building firms in the next few months. Construction of the station will last six to eight months. Lopinto predicts a late summer 2002 opening date.

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