On Friday, June 24, the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) announced its intention to close Station 16 at 5555 N. Illinois and consolidate it with Station 32 in Broad Ripple.
The City of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Fire Department have concluded their review of the departments’ resource allocation and standards of cover – as part of a comprehensive needs assessment evaluation. The comprehensive plan covers the entire 278 square mile service district and focuses on asset placement, resource utilization and potential budget savings of 2.1 million dollars by mid – 2017.
The re-deployment plan includes the recently consolidated IFD Administrative staff into one building, the construction of the Battalion 3 Chiefs Quarters at IFD Station 10, the consolidation of Stations 16 & 32, the consolidation of Stations 52 & 54 and the repurposing of station 54 into the IFD Fitness Center. The plan also includes the building of a new station in the Franklin Township area.
After more than 25 public meetings and with the approval of the City Administration, IFD’s re-deployment plan will move forward with the consolidation of Stations 16 and 32 in the next 30 days. During the next 12-18 months the plan will continue with the consolidation of Station 52 & 54 and the development of the IFD Fitness Center.
In the coming weeks, the Department of Metropolitan Development will begin a public engagement process to gather neighborhood input on the future of the property at 5555 N. Illinois. Based on that feedback, a community panel will review proposals for the property.
Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA) president Clark Kirkman is miffed. After months of entreaties to City officials, he hadn’t heard anything from the Hogsett administration. “It’s obviously disappointing to find out what’s supposed to happen with your fire station from the news media,” he said.
“The City has a $150 million budget and this is supposed to save $600,000 a year. That’s less than half a percent, and some of the most historic homes in the city will be endangered,” he added. The station sits within the North Meridian Street Preservation Area boundary and is subject to the Meridian Street Preservation Act that requires a property owner to secure the approval of the MSPC for any proposed change in land use. Regarding 5555 Illinois St., the Preservation Act states: “If existing use of building leaves, new use should be residential.”
“Next month when this goes into effect this neighborhood will be less safe than it is now,” Kirkman said. “There is no arguing that point. We have not been fighting to keep our quaint little fire station. We’ve been fighting to keep our neighborhood safe.”
Kirkman and his members aren’t buying IFD Chief Ernest Malone’s assertion that coverage will not be eroded by consolidating the station’s operations with Broad Ripple’s.
“It’s miles away from us in one of the city’s most congested areas,” he said.
Dan Carpenter contributed to this story. Read his earlier coverage of the issue here.