A fire station rebuilding project in Hillcrest has people in two different neighborhoods concerned.
While Station 5 is being replaced, its crews will operate out of temporary quarters a mile away.
Residents in both neighborhoods agree Station 5 is long overdue for reconstruction – a project that will cost upwards of $9 million.
But during that process, expected to get under way late this year, its current neighbors worry about longer response times.
Folks who live near the temporary station site say that particular location poses logistical problems, never mind the siren noise they’ll eventually be exposed to.
"I'm concerned, on Third Avenue, that there's going to be an issue of 'egress' when they have an emergency,” one Third Avenue homeowner who didn’t want to be identified told NBC 7 on Thursday. “There's trash trucks in the middle of the street. We can't even back out of the driveway sometimes, because of the traffic."
He's not alone in fretting that Station 5's crews will be based for an estimated two years -- while the original firehouse at 9th and University will be rebuilt -- in unoccupied space on property encompassing the Scripps Home Healthcare Services facility at 4311 Third Avenue, overlooking Mission Valley.
The reconstruction site is nearly a mile and five minutes away in busy mid-day traffic, as NBC 7 clocked it, for crews to reach the neighborhoods the current station has served since the 1950s.
Nearby residents have mixed feelings, anticipating longer response times than they’ve been used to.
“It's concerning, a little bit,” says Veronika Sufleta, who lives less than a block away from Station 5. “But (the rebuilt facility) is going to be wonderful, when they are done, and they move back here to this station … which will be
two years. I hope we don't need them, as an emergency. But yes, it is a little bit farther."
NBC 7 has passed these concerns along to fire officials and city facilities planners; so far, no response.
Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who chairs the Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committee, summed the situation this way in a Thursday telephone conversation: “That’s a tough one.”
Meantime, NBC 7 has learned that because of “unanticipated costs” during funding delays, the project’s architectural tab increased by $220,000 over the original bid from a prominent design firms -- and overall costs may as well.