Gainesville officials and residents gathered on Monday for the beginning of construction on the city’s new Fire Station 1.
Twelve shovels were planted in the dirt at the lot at 525 S. Main St. to symbolize the start of the building, which will become the replacement for the fire station that sits less than 300 feet away.
All the personnel and equipment will move over to the new facility when its finished. The city hasn’t yet decided what it’ll do with the old one, which was built in 1962.
Roughly 50 people — including Gainesville Fire Rescue employees and members of the Gainesville Emergency Medical Team — attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
The $10 million project is set to be completed in nine months, but it was conceptualized 10 years ago, according to Jeff Lane, Fire Station 1’s fire chief.
“Nothing moves by itself,” he said. “It takes a tremendous amount of vision and courage to move a project of this size.”
The start of the new fire station comes as officials are pushing other projects forward in the heart of the city, including Innovation Square and Depot Park.
City Manager Anthony Lyons shared his excitement over the developments.
“Putting in this kind of facility space is very important for the future of downtown,” he said.
Joe Courter, co-founder of Civic Media Center, which sits near Fire Station 1, said he’s happy for the growth in Gainesville but that he has concerns for issues that generally come with such development.
“Things have changed, and they need better facilities,” Courter said of the station. But “people have to remember that there’s a lot of people who are already here and shouldn’t be displaced.”