Officials with Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9—the governmental entity the manages the fire department's budget—said they finalized the purchase of a tract of land for the new fire station Nov. 28.
The new station, located at 17814 French Road, Houston, will replace the existing station at 16035 Aspenglenn North, Houston. Officials did not disclose the amount paid for the land, but the Harris County Appraisal District lists its value at roughly $505,000.
HCESD No. 9 Commissioner Tommy Balez said there are several benefits to the new station, including that it will be larger, less susceptible to flooding and better able to provide faster coverage within the CFVFD service area.
"Where [Station No. 5] is located currently backs up to our border, so we're providing only 180 degrees of coverage, whereas the new station will have 360 degrees," Balez said. "It's also closer to more businesses and homes, things of that nature."
The new station will also be located on land owned by the ESD, which Balez said was another benefit. The existing station is located on land owned by the Hunters Park Community Association.
After the station flooded during Harvey last year, the ESD initially looked into the cost of repairs, Commissioner Scott DeBoer said. However, the rebuilding process would also have to involve bringing the station up to newer standards that were not in place when it was originally constructed, he said.
"We were going to have to add sprinklers and other details," DeBoer said. "After getting bids back, the cost to rebuild and improve was going to be a substantial. That’s when we decided to find land."
The ESD first looked at land for sale in the area but was confronted with a lack of suitable land, DeBoer said. Eventually commissioners directed the district's Realtor to send letters to landowners in the area to try to find someone who would be willing to sell.
The Realtor heard back from a landowner who was looking to sell but did not have the land marketed, Balez said.
"They were excited to pass the land on for something like this," he said.
DeBoer said the ESD will have a better idea of the construction timeframe and cost after the district's Dec. 20 meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m. at the district's administration building, 9630 Telge Road, Houston. Both Balez and DeBoer said they hope to see work completed as quickly as possible. Firefighters stationed at the existing Station No. 5 have spent the past year sleeping in trailers due to the damage to the facility, DeBoer said.
The new station will be laid out similarly to other stations that opened in 2018, including the new Station No. 13 covering the Bridgeland area, Balez said. It will house a rescue vehicle, engine and ambulance, he said.
The French Road tract of land has several buildings located on it that will need to be demolished before construction can begin, Balez said.
"In a perfect world, we'll get the [firefighters] in around this time next year," Balez said.