The Palm Coast City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve the first step in ending the life of its oldest fire house, Station 22, on Palm Coast Parkway. The station will be revived as a much larger, more modern station a third of a mile east, on Colbert Lane.
The plan is part of a larger design both to improve firefighters’ response times in emergencies and to improve the often dismal parking situation at the Palm Coast Community center, across the street from Station 22. If the old station is razed, its grounds and those of a city-owned a parcel adjacent to it would be transformed into additional parking, doubling the number of the Community Center’s 116 spaces.
The City Council is also interested in possibly preserving the old fire station and making it part of its parks and recreation network. That would require some costly repairs and upgrades to bring the building up to code. If the costs are prohibitive, the building will be leveled, and memorialized through other means.
The council on Tuesday will also approve the first step in building a new fire station in Seminole Woods, though whether that station is built at the same time as the new Station 22 will depend on city finances. Station 22 has priority. It will be built with impact fee revenue. Design of the new fire station will be completed for $150,000 by Schenkel & Shultz at the end of 2023. Construction would be completed in September 2024.
The abandonment of Station 22 has been long overdue.“We’re putting $100,000 into an old building, and the question that I have,” the late Mayor on Netts had said during a council meeting in 2016, when the council was preparing to approve spending that sum on the latest refurbishment, “will these renovations significantly extend the life or is this a band-aid on a badly bleeding wound? I look at the size of the bays. They’re narrow by anybody’s guestimation. The chief alluded to the fact that you have to buy fire trucks to fit the size of the bay rather than fit the bay to the size of the fire truck. So the question I’m having is, you spend $100,000 on this, do we still have a building that ought to be replaced some time in the foreseeable future?”
The city manager at the time didn’t answer him directly. He said that while the better option would be to build a replacement fire station near Colbert Lane, the band-aid approach was more affordable. “It’s not a one or two year band-aid. It would be a 10, 15-year band-aid,” then-City Manager Jim Landon promised. (See: “City Will Spend $100,000 to Renovate Fire Station 22, Its Oldest, on Palm Coast Parkway.”)
As it turned out, 10 to 15 years was overly optimistic.
Last September the city bought a 193,000 square foot (4.4 acre) parcel a third of a mile east of the existing site, at the corner of Colbert Lane and Palm Coast Parkway’s westbound lanes.
“We’ve already kind of established that station 22 Doesn’t work from a fire department perspective,” Palm Coast Fire Chief Kyle Berryhill said of a station built in 1977, when it was part of Flagler County’s fire services. “It’s almost a 50-year-old building that was not designed for the modern day needs of the fire service. We’ve purchased the replacement site.” Nor are firetrucks designed for it: “We pay more money for a truck that’s smaller and does less to fit into that station that doesn’t meet the needs.”
The building itself has some historic, if not quite architectural, value, because it was among the earlier institutional buildings in the city. The council has been interested in preserving and “re-purposing” it, Berryhill said. But definitely not as a fire station or anything related to the fire services. Even as a parks and recreation facility, it would require a new roof and bringing the building to current code.
“We anticipate that to be a very expensive endeavor,” Berryhill said. A grant program from the Florida Division of Historical Resources could provide up to $50,000–not much, but a start. The old station would be memorialized “whether it’s a plaque or bell or whatever it may be,” Council member Theresa Pontieri said, at the old site or even at its new location. So keeping the building up is not exactly a top priority, especially when the city is contending with its other problem there: a lack of parking for the community center.
There are neighboring businesses and a church that have plenty of parking. Brookdale, the assisted living facility at 3 Club House Drive, allows overflow parking for Community Center patrons and city staffers. That’s across Palm Coast Parkway. Florida Health Care is open to allowing overflow parking only after 6 p.m. and on weekends.But Office Park Medical Plaza and St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran church are not open to sharing their parking lots. Their reason: liability.
The city considered all options, including razing parts of its own rounds around the Community center, such as the playground and the basketball court. But aside from the sacrilege of it, “We do see utilization” in the thousands, Parks and Recreation Director James Hurst said, “our summer camp uses it, our winter camp uses it and then also the basketball court is heavily utilized until 10 p.m. at night.” So that’s off the table.
No landscaped space on the grounds of the Community Center may be converted to parking–not unless the city were to violate its own land development code. Several trees on the property are protected or considered historic, in the playground area especially. The trees are also part of a highly valued canopy corridor in the city, along Palm Coast Parkway.
But the city owns those valuable parcels just east of the Community Center, across the street from Club House: the 36,000 square feet on which sits Fire Station 22. Then, paralleling the fire station’s land to the south, a 7,700-square foot sliver, itself connecting to a larger, 36,000-square foot, wooded parcel just east of the fire station.
That latter parcel could be turned into a parking lot, accommodating 70 spaces. “It would be connected-ish to the community center,” Berryhill said. If Station 22 is too cost-prohibitive to refurbish into some kind of historic site, it could be razed and yield an additional 42 spaces–not more, because there are protected trees on the site. The total would be 112 spaces. The current Community Center’s parking lot has 116 spaces.
“I think 70 Additional spaces would be greatly appreciated,” Council member Ed Danko said. “I don’t know if we need to go further than that. But we don’t have enough parking there. It’s really that simple. What’s that song, ‘paved paradise and put up a parking lot’? I’m sorry, but we need some parking spaces. So I like that number, 70.” (He was referring to “Big Yellow Taxi,” the 1970 Joni Mitchell song that opens, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot / With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot.”)
Council member Nick Klufas likes the idea of preserving the old station, but only if it’s affordable. “It’s not only just a historical building, but somewhat like a cornerstone, a pillar people of our community have passed through there,” Klufas said. “It’s also very reminiscent to me. That really goes in line with the old community center. That building we have is a million times better now. It used to be like a basement above ground, basically, no windows around it. But it’s such a beautiful facility that drives so much demand and traffic that those 70 spots would totally be welcomed.”
Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin seemed less wedded to preservation. The priority is parking. “That’s not something that we are going to have a lot of flexibility with,” Alfin said of expanding parking for the Community Center. “You just have to have it otherwise you’re going to restrict the use of the facility which is not in favor of the residents.”
As a concerned citizen of Palm Coast, I am writing to express my disappointment and frustration with the way the city is spending taxpayers’ dollars. In recent years, it seems that the city officials have been allocating a significant portion of the budget on meaningless projects that do not represent the overwhelming needs of the citizens of Palm Coast.
As we look around our city, it is apparent that there is a lack of focus on preserving the historic representation of our community. Another example is the plan to replace the original Fire Station. Instead, the city continues to tear down and build new without thinking about the historical value to the community. The destruction of historic landmarks and the erasure of our community’s past is a disservice to the citizens of Palm Coast.
It is important for the city officials to consider the needs of the citizens before spending tax dollars on projects that do not have any significant impact on the community. The funds could instead be directed towards improving the quality of life of the residents and preserving the city’s rich history that the council since the beginning of Palm Coast becoming a city years ago have ignored.
I urge the city officials to prioritize the needs of the citizens and make decisions that are in the best interest of the community. It is crucial for the future of our city that we take a more responsible and sustainable approach to development and preservation.
And the Fire Station can be just modernized if necessary.
stop building all these houses there are no jobs there in palmcoast two buy these houses period I’m getting sick of having two work in other states two survive in are town they should have built a car plant there not a Wendy’s and 25k more houses the older population can’t leave there eather like the 1990s idea they had for start up on this 1999 city .A city means jobs trade schools not out of towers from Orlando building houses
I feel safe but only when parked in "P" says
to parking lot …………………………….yes………………………….
That MAKES Total SENSE! pave all fire stations down!
Down with fire stations!!! Down! Put up more parking
lots! Those will keep use safe! “We anticipate that to be a
very expensive endeavor” EVEN BETTER!!! Quick, act now!!
hahahahaha… down that station NOW! We need parking!!!
Dan Yarosh says
It’s sad that the original station 2 is going away. For some of us it was where pcvd got it’s start, kind of like an old school house. But it cramped as early as the eighty’s. But it is needed and over due . I’ll miss it but expect it
I park my car over fire to put it out. says
I think 70 Additional spaces would be greatly appreciated ..
Who needs houses saved, we need to park cars! People, this is serious, were will the cars park?? WHERE!?!?!
The old station would be memorialized “whether it’s a plaque or bell or whatever it may be,
Look, as long as I can park my CAR, I do not care who it will be memorialized. I NEED to park my car man! MY GOOSH!!! Get your priorities straight!! WTF!! We are talking about parking here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Finally the Mayor has some thought. Lets add additional parking, instead of spending thousands of dollars to preserve an old structure. Now I used to work out of the building in the late eighties, and early nineties. Yes alot of memories have been made there. Im all for memorializing things, but not at tax payer expense. And with possible tuff $$$ time’s ahead for the governments with the proposed save our homes cap reduction, its time for the city to tighten the purse strings and live with in their means. Just as we the citizens must do!!!!!
Just have to say it says
Enough already! Is there anyone with a sense of reality?
Math police says
Quiz: Jill has 116 parking spaces. Jan has 112 parking spaces. If Jill acquired Jan’s parking spaces, would she have “more than double” her current spaces?
Y’all use some funky optomystical math down here, If I may make up a new word, (how that math actually works is a mystery but very optimistic regardless) Love it.
Tina Olive says
Maybe the reason they are moving the new fire station to Colbert is because with all the new traffic coming to Palm Coast Pwky with the new Condos coming on clubhouse, They will never be able to get out on the road if they stay there… Of course I’m not sure where all the cars are supposed to move to on Palm Coast Pwky with a huge fire truck coming up behind you, theres only so much room. This can only slow down the process. At least in the spot where it currently is you can see the firetrucks pulling out of the station and have time to slow down. If you are driving west on Palm Coast and suddenly see a fire truck barreling behind you….where are you supposed to go? Once again stupied decisions that make no sense. All I can say is one more year…..just one more reason to get out and vote in the next mayoral election….
B Hello says
Truth. The ppl who make decisions in town planning are absolutely clueless! Hey! Why don’t we throw up another gas station there!!! We need another one! Duh!!!
1977 makes it “historic?” You transplants are a joke.
@Historical Palm Coast
A1A through Flagler County was a pleasant ride through the Garden of Eden on the Atlantic coast of Florida. And then one day, Palm Coast was conceived.
I have pots and pans that are older than Palm Coast.
Palm Coast will survive.
Personally, I don’t see anything “historic” or worthy of saving in that old, outdated fire station. If it were a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing sight to look at, only then should it be considered for saving for prosperity. But that is not the case… it is NOT an attractive structure. That old building should be demolished when the replacement fire station is built in order to make way for the additional parking spaces for the community center.
Donald J Trump says
Build a bigger station to accommodate bigger trucks that have not yet been ordered. The new trucks will not be able to turn around in the Publix parking lot when doing their daily food runs. If really needed why a 100 grand for design, we have built 5 new stations in the last 9 years, is the city saying those new facilities are already out dated. Roads like Old Kings between Rt 100 and PCP need addressing before likes and desires of the firemen who only work part time in the current facility. I don’t recall any problems getting existing equipment in or out of the current building. Any new facility will cost $25 million when you add in the obscured and hidden costs of traffic signals, new gym equipment, new furniture, replacing communication system and Bronze Plaques with polticans name engraved for prosperity.
Another fire station!!! All we need now are some fires. I think we have more fire stations than fires in this town!!! At least it’s not another pizza joint or storage facility !!!
David Schaefer says
So true when the majority of calls are 90% medical. I was an FF in Maryland sorry I wouldn’t want to be one in Palm coast.
Just think how cool it would be if Palm Coast actually had public transportation. It makes zero sense to me that a city this size, with so many older people, doesn’t have bus service. It would save fuel and money and eliminate the need for huge parking lots.
It matters not how loudly and often citizens express concern over projects in this city. Whether it’s opposition to the marina project or support for preserving historical buildings, once the council has made its deal with developers, it’s curtains for citizens’ concerns.
Missing the Good Old Days says
It is getting to the point where I hate to wake up and read the local news every morning. This is one more reason to add to my list of things that have drastically changed in the last 20 years and taken the luster off the Palm Coast that we enjoyed in earlier years. I believe in progress. But I also believe it needs to be done with much more thought than the current and recent councils have used. I am sick to death of seeing more land being consumed by junk food, low-end retail, storage units, and parking. If we (our family) were not “tied” to a local family member who is elderly and needs daily care, we would be long gone.
We have lived in rural areas, bedroom communities, and cities over our lifetimes and PC is rapidly becoming something that no longer offers a feeling of safety, consideration for the environment, and community bonds. Keep building. Maybe one day you can get Disney to turn Princess Place into another amusement park. Or maybe the Ag Museum can pave over most of the pastures and start a lot for people to car pool to Jacksonville.
Brian Riehle says
I think your geography is off. The southeast corner of Colbert Lane and the Parkway East is in the Daytona College property.
Do you mean the Northeast corner of Colbert and the Parkway West ?
Yes, thank you for the correction.
Right where families of DEER live! What a darn SHAME!
Is it across from Grand Oaks Nursing Home? I wonder how those folks will feel about having a loud fire station right across from their ‘home’ going all hours of the night (although fire engines go there often, too)?
Keep the old fire station as a ‘historical’ fire station. 1977 is 46 years ago. Ancient for a new city like Palm Coast.
Think it Trough says
This City (and County) do have a history of making some really poor decisions when it comes to public facilities. The Community Center is only a few years old. Did no one foresee the need for the ultimate parking requirements during the planning stage.
Two quick observations. Maybe city officials would consider selling the property and putting it on the tax roll. Novel idea to offset cost of a new facility?
Second, although public transportation is an admirable idea, would it ever be more than an expense to most taxpayers who will never use it because it not being viable because of city sprawl?
Celia Pugliese says
Kathy Ellavsky President of the historical society minute 3.4o https://flaglerlive.com/186547/fire-station-22-parking/ was correct pleading to preserve the building of Fire Station 22 that could become the Palm Coast Museum to be managed by our all volunteer Palm Coast Historical Society Members. The building then can be updated with historical grants available. That was a envisioned a while ago to the PHS and residents. Palm Coast is the 800 lb gorilla that sustains this county and we do not preserve even one building for our Welcome to Palm Coast Museum? Tiny Flagler Beach have a museum so does Bunnell then why not the almighty tax revenue of this county, Palm Coast? Where is our pride, do we have any left or we are going to let it be paved over, held hostage by mayor, council and city administrators? Every public owned parcel is going to be asphalted or worst now? Mrs Ellavsky is right! What is so funny Councilman Danko, the residents ignored pleading to a totalitarian council and administrators?
Celia Pugliese says
Here is the council meeting of 2/21 /2023 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84lQ1oTWU48 were at minute 3.40 President of Palm Coast Historical Society Kathy Ellavsky pleads for Fire Station 22 preservation as the only historical building left in the city.
Celia Pugliese says
City should buy the adjacent parcel for sale now to the south along the community center make a nice wooden bridge over the Saint Joe Canal and build all the parking spaces along the Palm Coast Parkway East bound in that parcel all along the community center as that lot is too small to be buildable that is why does not sell…just perfect for just parking spaces. Leave the Fire Station 22 as is, improve the building with a historical grant and install there our Palm Coast Museum to be run by all volunteer staff of the Palm Coast Historical Society with its President Kathy Ellavsky and historian Art Dycke! That Fire Station 22 is perfect for that as is our first ever Fire Station in Palm Coast! What about some pride! Imagine surrounded by parking spaces to serve the museum and Community Center. C’mon Council and Mayor!