A new fire station in a rapidly growing area of the city of Jacksonville will increase response times and help the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department better protect lives and property. Fire Station 63, which opened in October 2021, is on Gate Parkway in southwest Jacksonville and serves the Deerwood area south of the St. Johns Town Center.
Hanson provided civil engineering and permitting for the $7 million design-build project and served as engineer of record. The three-bay facility on approximately 1.3 acres is 9,015 square feet with associated outbuildings, drives and a 14-stall parking lot. Site engineering work included utilities and utility connections, grading, paving, drainage, sidewalks, concrete pads and erosion control. The station was designed with similar features as other new fire stations in the city.
The work included design for preemption traffic signals, which included one single-arm mast arm to serve southbound Gate Parkway traffic and one dual mast arm to serve Gate Parkway northbound traffic and Fire Station Drive eastbound traffic. Appropriate emergency signs were added to the mast arms. A push button was installed in the fire station to activate the traffic signal. The fire station signal was connected to the existing ITS system along Gate Parkway. An Opticom Infrared System was provided to allow returning emergency vehicles to activate the traffic signal.
City leaders said the crew stationed at the new station is responsible for protecting more than 5,000 residences, more than 400 businesses, more than 30 apartment complexes and several schools. Since 2019, the crew had been operating from a smaller, temporary facility on Gate Parkway, not far from the new site. During that time, the temporary facility was one of the busiest stations in Duval County, seeing a 45% increase in the number of runs in the area.
The city was recently ranked in the top 10 for busiest fire and rescue departments. Firehouse magazine’s latest National Run Survey ranked the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) as the ninth busiest department in the country, with 155,501 calls for service in 2020. JFRD is also the second-busiest department in Florida, according to the survey, ranked second to Miami-Dade County.
"This is one of the fastest growing areas of town, and this new station will help better protect the lives and property of thousands of residents who call this part of the area home," Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"This area was in dire need of a fire station to reduce response times and lower the insurance rates for residences and commercial businesses in this area," said Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers.
"This station for our first responders will reflect the best and most up-to-date facilities that can be provided to deliver the response times and support that our surrounding neighborhoods and communities deserve," said City Council Member Danny Becton, who represents District 11, the location of the new station.