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Date of Issue: November 25, 2009

WMFR to purcase building, not build

In a move that could save the West Manatee Fire Rescue District an estimated $2 million or more, the district board at its Nov. 19 meeting voted 4-1 to approve a measure to purchase an existing building to meet its current and future space requirements, rather than build a new structure.

Chief Andy Price told the board that the building is located at 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton, two lots away from Station No. 4.

The building formerly housed a medical facility, but the doctors in the office moved out about a year ago, he said.

The sale price two years ago was $2.8 million, but Price said that by negotiating with the owner and the bank, WMFR was able to get the price down to $1.1 million.

A facilities study completed earlier this year recommended the district build an administration building to accommodate staff in a central location.

The estimated cost to build that facility was about $4 million.

Price said that even with an estimate of $400,000 to upfit the building to meet the needs of the district, the $1.5 million cost amounts to considerable savings.

In addition, the 10,000 square-foot building will provide for all administrative staff, additional offices, a board room and sufficient storage space for a lot of WMFR equipment.

“It’s a positive step,” said Price. “It opens up enough space at Station No. 1 and No. 4. There’s enough space there for today and in the future.”

Board member Jesse Davis, however, voted against the proposal. “It’s too much money,” he said.