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County to add four fire stations in next two years

Additional services needed to keep pace with growth

Posted 12/31/69

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – As Clay County continues to grow, so do the calls for Clay County Fire Rescue. That’s why the county decided to build four new stations in the next two years.

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County to add four fire stations in next two years

Additional services needed to keep pace with growth


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – As Clay County continues to grow, so do the calls for Clay County Fire Rescue. That’s why the county decided to build four new stations in the next two years.

Fire Rescue got 27,812 calls in 2022. According to Fire Chief Lorin Mock, they are anticipating more than 30,000 calls by year’s end – an 8% increase in incidents.

The four stations are part of the county’s five-year Capital Improvement Program and should be operational by the fall of 2025.

Station 15 in Lake Asbury was originally built as a volunteer fire station at 290 Branscomb Road. The area needs a new station since much of the county’s growth is centered in Lake Asbury and Green Cove Springs. The county is looking to secure property.

“When you start to look at all of the new homes in Lake Asbury, that whole area is going to (be built out). We (seek) to take (that station) off the lake and move it closer to the First Coast Expressway so we can provide broader coverage for residents,” Mock said.

The chief said while the station has not found a home, the county would like to build it on a site that will provide “optimum” emergency services for residents. Plans will become clearer once the First Coast Expressway is completed.

“Those internal roadways will provide us with more access points,” Mock said.

Station 20 in Green Cove Springs is currently at 303 South Oakridge Ave. The county has plans to build a new station at the former site of the County Health Department directly across the street from Green Cove Springs Junior High. He said some fire equipment is currently stored in sheds.

“We will get to build a real station,” Mock said.

Station 22 on Fleming Island will be relocated from 5995 Pine Ave. to Arena Road off of County Road 220. A shed and mobile home will be traded for a 10,000-square-foot facility with eight service bays.

Positioning firefighters in centralized locations so they can provide comprehensive, broad coverage will be a priority at the new station on Fleming Island.

“I can only cover 180 degrees out from the (St. Johns River) at Pine Avenue. Moving to Arena Road gets us closer to 360 degrees of coverage. We want to (centralize) the location,” Mock said.

The station is in the early stages of design.

The new facility for Station 24 at Virginia Village at 5105 Sweat Road will be built on county property in a Green Cove Springs neighborhood. The project is nearing completion for the design phase.

Virginia Village will not be the same sleepy Virginia Village you see right now. The corridor down U.S. 17 continues to develop. It will (likely) become a combination of residential and industrial, (similar to) Fleming Island,” Mock said.

Eight additional stations are planned for the future. These include No. 1 Branan Field Road and Blanding Boulevard, No. 2 Cheswick Oaks, No. 3 Shadowlawn, No. 4 Governor’s Park, No. 5 Middleburg West, No. 6 Constitution Drive and Blanding, No. 16 Penney Farms and No. 21, Green Cove Springs North

Some of the future stations are on vacant lots or less-populated areas.

“We are planning for what is happening with (growth and development),” Mock said.

“If we don’t build more stations, the current stations will exceed their capacities. We will have service times when people will be waiting for calls, and people will die if so. I mentioned that during the Impact Fee discussion. It’s a terrible thing to say, but we have to start this very soon, or else it will be very difficult to catch up,” Mock said.

A document provided to Clay Today lists the estimated incidents for 2045 to be as many as 53,378.

To meet the demands of the 2045 model, Public Safety will need to recruit 330 new members, Mock said. “Development is coming faster than we can build stations and purchase fire apparatus right now,” he said.

“These facilities are going to service the community for the next 40-60 years. We are planting seeds that are growing the new department.”