Connect with us

Local News

Creative options part of fire department planning for new stations



La Crosse fire chief Ken Gilliam says a plan for new stations in the city isn’t ready yet for primetime.

He’s considering recommendations from a special task force as a guideline but Thursday afternoon in the WIZM studio Gilliam said an eventual decisions on what to do with the city’s aging fire stations could involve some creative thinking.

“La Crosse is growing up,” Gilliam said. “So, if we’re going to have a fire station, could we put student housing on top of it? Could we put business in front of it?

“Could we do some other things and collaborate on that and let some of that tax revenue help fund the public facilities that are ultimately coming right back around the corner and helping other people in those buildings?”

Whatever the plan, it will be costly but, likely, not all at once.

“That’s one of the things we’re looking at,” Gilliam said. “How could we span that out, so that the future generations benefitting from it — it isn’t all on the backs of everybody right now?”

The fire station task force report called for the city moving from four to five fire stations and replacing at least three of the current stations.

“Not a metal building designed for 20 years but a brick and mortar building that’s going to last that 75-year goal,” Gilliam added. “We’re kind of talking as a foundation of a neighborhood. We’re anywhere in the range of $3.5 to $7.5 million.”

The city council in February voted to move toward implementing recommendations in the report.

Gilliam says agreements with surrounding municipalities could dictate where new fire stations get built, though he acknowledges the difficulties in getting leadership in those fire districts to even talk about coordination of services.

Listen to the full WIZM interview with Gilliam below.


Fire chief Ken Gilliam on #WIZM TEXT or call 608.785.7914

Posted by 1410 WIZM – La Crosse’s News Station on Thursday, May 3, 2018

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *