Jacksonville, FL (October 26, 2021) – Council Member Danny Becton, along with Mayor Lenny Curry, JFRD Chief Keith Powers, and Council Vice President Terrance Freeman officially declared Fire Station 63 operational at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony this morning. Last year, ground was broken at the site off Gate Parkway near Burnt Mill Road after years of work and advocacy from Council Member Becton in finding and then leading the purchase of the property for this new facility. Now, after a year of construction, the 2.72-acre lot no longer stands vacant. Temporary Fire Station 63, which has been in operation since before construction began will be closed in the coming days and moved into this new facility.
In September 2019, Councilman Danny Becton, Mayor Lenny Curry, and JFRD Chief Powers announced the project with the intent of putting public safety first in an area that badly needed coverage. This was the culmination of years of work and advocacy by Council Member Becton, going back to November 2015. On July 16th, 2018, during a presentation to present the Fire Station 63 project to the community, Council Member Becton stated the following:
“In November 2015, the issue of fire services or the lack thereof for a part of District 11 became known to me. It was when an all hands-on deck occurred, understanding the issues, understanding the bigger need, and putting a plan into place to solve the problem. This immediately became #1 of my 3 top priorities!
On June 1st, 2016, during my first presentation to the administration of the need for a fire station, a thorough discussion regarding the logistics was considered in the future coverage and having multiple stations in the right location. Everyone walked away understanding the importance of this critical issue and its priority as a matter of public safety!
“When looking at the need for a fire station for this location, it was warranted by the area’s high ISO rating of 10. ISO is the rating system used for fire protection services. Areas are gauged from 1 being the ‘Best’ and 10 being the ‘Worst’. Measuring the distance of 5 driving miles from the nearest fire station, properties in these zones are not only too far to have reliable services but homeowners can be penalized with higher insurance premiums. Based on this system, there are homes in the neighborhood of Hampton Park that meet this ISO 10 criteria. Future growth areas must also be considered as well, and the future residents of eTown will be part of this ISO 10 problem, as well. Placing a station in the right location became even more important as to cover and benefit the future residents in these areas as our city grows.”
Funding for the construction project was requested in the Mayor’s 2019-2020 Budget in the amount of $2.6 million and passed by the full City Council in Bill 2020-504. This was after the full City Council passed Bill 2018-459, which authorized the allocation of the $1.7 million for the purchase of the 3.77 acre property.
Mayor Lenny Curry spoke to the crowd gathered this morning reemphasized his commitment to Jacksonville’s First Responders and ensuring that residents have ample coverage and protection. Mayor Curry stated, “This is one of the fastest growing areas of town and this new station will help better protect the lives and property of thousands of residents who call this part of the area home. He concluded, “I do believe the top priority of government at all levels should be the safety of its citizens and it’s my top priority as the mayor of this city.”
JFRD Chief Powers added to those comments stating Temporary Fire Station 63 became one of JFRD’s busiest since it was activated. “Over the last two months,” Chief Power said, “Squad 63 has averaged 313 runs a month and Rescue 63 averaged 275 runs per month, with a 45% increase in volume from the previous year.” The area of responsibility for Fire Station 63 would include approximately 5,000 residences, 400 businesses, 30 apartment complexes, and several schools. Chief Powers concluded by stating, “This area was in dire need of a fire station to reduce response times and lower insurance rates for the residences and commercial businesses of this rapidly growing area. It was Council Member Becton who spearheaded the effort, found the location and was instrumental in making this happen, So again, I want to thank Mayor Curry, Council Vice President Freeman, Council Member Becton, and the entire City Council for their collaborative effort to ensure the safety of this great city.”
Council Member Becton also gave remarks at the ceremony:
“Today, I am excited to be here with Mayor Curry, Chief Powers, Council Vice-President Freeman and other Council Members here in attendance, in having the opportunity to Welcome and Open, our Newest and Most Advanced Fire Station to Date, #63. As I have stated on many occasions, Public Safety is Priority #1 as we, year after year, craft our City’s Budget. As a result of that commitment, this station for our first responders will reflect the best and most up-to-date facilities that can be provided, to deliver the response times, and support that our surrounding neighborhoods and communities deserve.
We have had many partners during this journey that I would like to thank. The list includes Mayor Lenny Curry and everyone in his administration. The many team members within JFRD. Finally, to the construction professionals at Acon Construction who turned our design into reality.
For our first responders who will make this new station their home, it is with ‘God Speed’ that we wish you well and great success in the work that you do and the work that you will do to save lives and property serving the needs of neighbors throughout the Southside of Jacksonville. Thank you again for your service and your dedication to your profession – we are grateful.
In closing, I again want to say thank you to everyone involved on this very exciting occasion to cut this ribbon and begin a new future and celebrate a new home for Fire Station #63!
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