The Texarkana, Texas, City Council has approved buying land on which the city plans eventually to build three new fire stations.
At its regular meeting Monday, the council voted to authorize City Manager Shirley Jaster to buy the land, though a start date for building new stations is unclear.
Last year the council allocated $542,500 for purchasing the land, funded by the city's Capital Improvement Plan. The city later suspended the CIP, a bond-based funding program, until at least 2023 to avoid taking on new debt, leaving actual construction of the planned station houses in limbo.
The city wanted to lock down the lots it has selected before someone else bought them or their prices went up.
"We're going to go ahead and try to secure the property, so that when we can build, we'll be ready. Then we'll have some construction design at that point, and construction plans," Jaster said.
A station relocation plan announced a year ago would move crews at three of Texarkana, Texas, Fire Department's five stations into newly built, strategically placed buildings.
The plan calls for Station One, now at 524 W. Third St., to move farther north in the downtown area, TTFD Chief Eric Schlotter said last year. Station Three, now at 5706 Richmond Road, would be west and south of its current spot. And Station Four, now at 4315 Summerhill Road, would remain close to Summerhill but north of Interstate 30.
Shifting the stations' positions will decrease response times to certain parts of the city, especially the quickly expanding development north of Interstate 30, Schlotter said.
Council members also voted unanimously to approve revisions to the city's water conservation and drought contingency plan, which were required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Director of Planning David Orr briefed the council on rezoning and specific-use permits that would allow construction of a recreational vehicle sales and storage business at the dead end of North Kenwood Road. Public hearings and votes on the measures are scheduled for May 14.
Another briefing concerned rezoning 2916 Pleasant Grove Road, which would allow a karate school and other sports-related facilities there.
The council's next meeting is scheduled for May 14.
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