Reynoldsburg City Council approves land sale for new West Licking fire station

Kelley Rodriguez
ThisWeek
Joe Begeny

Land in Reynoldsburg will be the site of a new fire station to help the West Licking Joint Fire District keep up with growing demand. 

Reynoldsburg City Council unanimously approved an ordinance April 26 authorizing the sale of 10.5 acres on Taylor Road to the West Licking Joint Fire District for $1. 

The vacant land just north of Wilma Drive, between the Taylor Woods subdivision and the L Brand’s complex on East Broad Street, was gifted to the city in 2003 for future parkland.  

In addition to a new firehouse, the WLJFD will install a pedestrian path connecting Taylor Road to the Waggoner Middle School property to the west, according to the sales contract presented to council. 

“First and foremost, a partnership with West Licking Fire department will save lives and property by reducing response times,” Reynoldsburg Mayor Joe Begeny said. “We know that when there is a need for any fire or emergency services, every second matters and this facility will allow for a more robust presence of firefighters and equipment to deal with any situation they are presented with.  

“There is limited space in their current location for both the firefighters and their equipment. It was very important for West Licking Fire that any new facility be located in an area with space to grow to meet current and future needs of our residents in western Licking County.”     

The West Licking Fire District operates five stations serving 109 square miles encompassing the communities of Reynoldsburg, Pataskala and Kirkersville, as well as Etna, Harrison and Jersey townships. 

The fire district responded to 6,228 calls for service in 2020, according to a year-end report filed in January. Reynoldsburg accounted for 1,171 runs last year. Of the municipalities served by West Licking, only Pataskala had more calls (2,227).  

The WLJFD currently rents space in a converted storage facility at 7821 Taylor Road that houses Station 404, across the street from where the new station will be built.     

Typically staffed with four firefighter/paramedics, the station opened in 2016 as a way to improve response times in the fastest-growing part of the WLJFD service area. 

“The district found a majority of our calls were coming out of that location near Taylor Road,” fire district Administrator Laurie Mayale said. “That station covers parts of the city of Reynoldsburg, and it also covers parts of Pataskala and parts of Etna Township.

“It was taking between seven and eight-and-a-half minutes so we knew we would be able to better respond if we could find a location near there."  

After Station 404 opened, the district cut its response time in half. 

“It’s now at about three to three-and-a-half minutes,” Mayle said. 

Much of the new development in Reynoldsburg is occurring in Licking County: More than 280 condos and apartments are under construction or planned along Taylor Road – Taylor Chase and Ravines at Taylor Road. 

The city annexed 137 acres on East Main Street and Summit Road in February for a planned housing and retail development known as Eastwood that will be served by the WLJFD. More than 700 homes and apartments and 11.5 acres of commercial property are proposed as part of the Eastwood project. 

The new fire station will have at least three apparatus bays, with room to allow more equipment and staff. It will likely be  two stories tall, although architectural details are not yet finalized, Mayle said.   

Mayle said the fire district expects to select a general contractor this spring. The new station is expected to cost about $3.5 million, she said.  

The city and fire district began discussions last year with an eye toward finding a site in Reynoldsburg for a new West Licking station.  

The new station “has been a long time coming,” said at-large Councilman Stacie Baker, who serves as council’s liaison to the fire district. 

“Basically, (Station 4) has out-used its use,” Baker said. “We need something that is more permanent and something that will let the fire district grow as we grow in Reynoldsburg and the western part of Licking County.”  

West Licking officials anticipate breaking ground in the fall and construction will take about two years, Mayle said.  

“We’re very cognizant that the station will be in a residential area, and we will be working closely with the architect to minimize any disruption to the neighborhood during the construction phase, as well as once the station is operational,” Mayle said. “The district wants to express our sincere thanks to the city of Reynoldsburg for helping to get this land. We want the community to feel that this is a part of their neighborhood.”  

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