After more than a year of of development, Denison is moving forward with financing for two fire department projects.


City Council approved issuing a $2.4 million bond Monday night that will finance the construction of the new West End Fire Station and the purchase of a new ladder truck for the department.


The new ladder truck will replace a similar piece of equipment, which has reached the end of its useful life. On average, city officials said fire apparatus have a life span of about 10 years.


“We have some apparatus that are older than that,” City Manager Jud Rex said. “The current ladder truck is closer to 20 plus years old. You can make them last long, but you are going to have to put some maintenance money into them to make it work.


“With an older piece of equipment, like our ladder truck, there just aren’t parts available to get it fixed. We’d have to find someone to manufacture the parts and it really does become costly.”


It was in September of 2018 when the city first started working with its. It was about a year late when the city decided to move forward with the project, and the council approved issuing a notice of intent to issue bonds earlier this year.


This was initially a part of a $26.1 million series of improvements that would include the D3 project and improvements to Main Street, street projects, and water and sewer improvements. However, the majority of these projects have been delayed at least partially due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Rex said the $1.4 million ladder truck has been under construction, but the project saw some delays.


“Before COVID-19 hit, they had given us a timeline of April for delivery,” Rex said. “But one of the last things we do before we take over ownership of the apparatus to inspect it and have our team go out and inspect it.”


With most travel delayed or completely suspended, Rex said city staff have not been able to inspect the new vehicle.


In addition to the $1.4 million ladder truck, the bonds will also finance the reconstruction of the West Side Fire Station.


This project was first discussed in 2018 as a part of the city’s annual budget retreat. In recent years, the 60s-era building was in significant need of repairs. Additionally, the project saw the demolition of a training tower at the site that was in poor condition and posed a safety risk.


The project saw the reconstruction of most of the facility, but the existing vehicle bays were able to be used and retained.


“It is a whole new fire station aside from the vehicle bays,” Rex said. “It is a whole new living quarters, bathrooms locker rooms.”


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.