The Shoreview City Council voted unanimously at a recent council meeting to approve a joint powers agreement (JPA) between the cities of Shoreview, Arden Hills and North Oaks for construction of a new headquarters fire station for the Lake Johanna Fire Department in Arden Hills.

“If you recall, in September of 2020, the City Council approved an agreement between the three cities for the purchase of the property and the future construction of the headquarters fire station for the Lake Johanna Fire Department,” said Assistant City Manager Renee Eisenbeisz. “Following that approval, the fire department purchased a 4-acre property on Pine Tree Drive in Arden Hills from Bethel University.”

The cost of the property was $1.3 million, plus a contribution of up to $325,000 toward the cost of constructing a new entrance road into the property. According to Eisenbeisz, the property is considered to be an ideal location for the new station since it is significantly larger than the site of the current fire station on Victoria Street and is on the south side of the railroad tracks, which will improve response times to southern Shoreview and Arden Hills.

“The city of Shoreview recently submitted a $6.675 million capital bonding request for one-half of the projected station cost to the state of Minnesota on behalf of the three cities,” Eisenbeisz said at the Nov. 15 City Council meeting. “During discussions with state personnel, it was noted that the land and future fire station will need to be owned either by one of the three cities or a joint powers entity of the three cities.”

Eisenbeisz said Shoreview city attorney Jim Kelly worked with the city manager and administrators of the three cities to develop a JPA for this purpose.

Key points in the agreement include:

• A four-person board with two elected officials from Shoreview and one each from Arden Hills and North Oaks.

• It would take at least a three-fourths vote to approve any action.

• The Lake Johanna Fire Department would need to transfer the property to the board. The cost share for funding of the new headquarters fire station would be based on the current cost share formula between the cities (25% population, 25% households, 40% number of fire calls and 10% assessed value), which is updated annually.

• Station construction would begin following the unanimous vote of the board, but no later than June 30, 2026.

According to Eisenbeisz, the JPA has been approved by Arden Hills, and North Oaks is expected to vote on the JPA in the near future.

Mayor Sandy Martin said City Manager Terry Schwerm did a lot of the groundwork for the project and has played a huge role in overseeing all of the plans.

“The hope and desire amongst the cities, and certainly with the fire department, is to try and have this station construction begin earlier,” Schwerm said. “I know the cities will continue to work together towards moving this project forward.”

Martin said she invited the city's legislatures to come to the City Council workshop on Dec. 20 to discuss the new fire station regarding the bonding for the fire department.

“We've had a lot of involvement on this, and it is a really critical step for our fire department,” Martin said. “This, in many ways, is a formality so that we can access state funding.”

 

The next Shoreview City Council meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, in council chambers at City Hall, 4600 Victoria St. N., in Shoreview.

 

Noelle Olson is a staff writer for Press Publications. She can be reached at shoreviewnews@presspubs.com or 651-407-1229.

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