Porterville's One Step Closer to Improving Public Safety

November 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Porterville's city council just approved the purchase of a 13-acre property to build a brand new public safety facility. The new building will take up five acres of the land and house brand new fire and police stations to serve the south side of Porterville.The Mayor of Porterville Pete McCracken said, "And to get the grant we had to have control of the land so that was the big push."

The $4 million dollar project will be paid for partly with federal stimulus funds ? and also by Measure H ? a half-cent sales tax approved by voters to make public safety improvements to the city. The rest of the funding comes from money the city managed to set aside over the last few years.

The new public safety facility will be built on vacant property adjacent to the Wal-Mart Distribution Center which city officials say has spurred new growth on this side of town.

Porterville fire officials say it can take them up to 10 minutes to respond to a call in the southern neighborhoods of Porterville.

Porterville Fire Chief Mario G. Garcia said, "The new public safety facility would be essential for us to provide services to the community and to meet our response five minute response time to at least 80% of the community."

Chief Garcia says they'll also hire up to nine firefighters to staff the new station. Porterville Police officials say they won't be hiring any more officers because their current facility on "D" Street is at capacity. Instead, they'll be moving about 15 officers and some staff over to the new station and using the extra space to store evidence in homicide cases.

Porterville Police Chief Chuck McMillan said, "A lot of the development in the city is going to the southern part of the town so for us it's a venture that police and fire we can provide the service on the southern part of town."

City leaders say the fire station will be built first. They hope to break ground on the project within the next year.


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