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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
The city of Toledo broke ground on a new fire station in north Toledo Thursday morning, aimed to improve public safety in that part of town.
The project represents a $3.3 million capital improvement investment for the city to build Fire Station No. 12, a new facility measuring 14,461 square feet. Its location at Blair Park is between two busy rail lines, which in the past, have prevented emergency services from getting through to help those in need.
Booker Washington Sr. has lived in his home on Chase Street for the past 20 years. Located between the two rail lines, he says from time to time, his neighborhood can become isolated. Across from his house is where Fire Station No. 12 will be built.
"That track gets blocked. The track down here is blocked. That track on Summit gets blocked and you go down New York, that track is blocked. You're stuck in here. You can't get out," said Washington.
Last week the city broke ground on the reconstruction of Fire Station No. 3, just two miles away at Erie and Bush streets. Fire Station No. 24 is also about two miles away on Summit Street. The project for the new fire station aims to eliminate concerns about access to Toledo neighborhoods in cases of emergency.
"We've had our challenges navigating our way through the North End and Point Place because of the rail lines. This particular location, you know, it's going to help us a bit. We'll have a couple different choices of which way we can go," said Fire Chief Luis Santiago. "It's part of the overall plan to try to serve this area and this community the best we can."
Many north Toledo neighbors attended the groundbreaking ceremony and expressed their support for the new fire house.
"How beautiful can that be. A new beginning for this community. A new beginning for me, and I'm going to welcome it. We get to visit and be part of it," said resident Regina McNair.
The new fire station is expected to be constructed by summer 2014 and become the city's 19th operating fire house.