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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Valleywide

Task Force Proposed to Spur Fire Station

March 21, 2000|PATRICK McGREEVY

Alarmed that construction of a long-promised new fire station for the San Fernando Valley has fallen months behind schedule, Los Angeles City Council members proposed Monday that a task force be formed to get the project back on track.

Fire Department officials first proposed to complete the station on Van Nuys Boulevard in Arleta this fall, but they told the City Council's public safety committee Monday that the new completion date is April 2001.

"We made some commitments to be able to try to open that fire station sometime this October," Fire Capt. Roy Prince told the council panel. "I don't see that happening."

Although the city issued bonds for the $1.6-million project in November 1998, there were some delays in getting the money set aside for the project and purchasing the 0.4-acre lot, according to Fire Capt. Pete Benesch.

Officials said they now hope to select an architect for the project to begin design work next month and start construction in September.

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, chairwoman of the panel, joined Councilman Alex Padilla in calling for a task force of city officials to begin meeting on ways to expedite the project.

"It was our understanding in our discussion with the Fire Department that it was very important to start and complete construction of this fire station this year, for a variety of reasons, mainly focusing on public safety," said John Lee, an aide for Padilla.

"Where we can move it as quickly as possible within constraints of process and due deliberation, the task force can be there to help move things along," Miscikowski said, before sending the recommendation on to the full council for consideration.

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