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Tubac Fire District breaks ground for new station

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Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:00 pm

Three was the lucky number at the groundbreaking on Tuesday for the $3 million Tubac Fire Station No. 3 located at 333 Camino Josephina.

Firefighters, contractors and local government officials were among 100 or so guests attending the event at the scenic property donated by Avatar in the foothills of the San Cayetano Moutains west of the posh Morning Star Ranch subdivision.

Talk among some of the neighbors attending the event included the probability that their fire insurance rates will be reduced, and response times will be shortened when the facility is up and running.

TFD Project Manager Louis Chaboya said that about 2,000 residents will be served by the new fire house once Morning Star, Tubac Foothills and the Salero Ranch subdivisions are annexed into the district as planned.

The fire station will be funded by landowners’ taxes as part of a $15 million bond issue approved in November 2008. Fifty-eight percent of the voters in the district cast “yes” ballots for the financing package.

In addition to the Camino Josephina station, which is expected to be completed within 10-12 months, construction of another station is scheduled to begin in about 120 days on Ruta Camaron, about 400 yards east of Pendleton. It is estimated Station No. 4 will cost about $3.3 million to build.

A third facility will be Station No. 1 and will house a fire station, training facility and an administration building. The cost is estimated at about $4.2 million and construction is planned within three years just southwest of the Interstate 19 Chavez Siding intersection, Chaboya said.

Among those attending were Santa Cruz County Supervisors Manuel Ruiz and Rudy Molera. Supervisor John Maynard whose district includes the new fire station was unable to attend. He notified Chaboya that he had family matters to attend to out of town.

Eric Van Sintaartensdick of the Netherlands attended the event along with Andrea Delaplane and their Great Dane, Venus, who is 18 months old, weighs 150 pounds and is still growing.

“This is great,” Delaplane said. “We just purchased 18 acres by Morning Star. We petitioned the county and had the name of our street changed from Fresas Corte to Sunday Style Drive after two of our Great Danes.”

The couple plans a 1,500-square-foot home, with a 600-square-foot guest house and a 700-square-foot garage. The latter will shelter two vehicles and what else? A dog-wash area, Delaplane said.

Angie Gruenemeier invited the young couple to her upcoming Fourth of July cookout. It wasn’t clear if Venus was included in the invitation. Gruenemeier and her husband John are Pennsylvania transplants and live on Avenida de las Naciones, just down from the station. They are members of the TFD board of directors.

On the other side of the property was JR Grear of GRG Construction, a Tucson firm that has operated in Santa Cruz County for about five years. CRG is one of eight local contractors hired for the job so far. Others include ALR Engineering; Otero Bros. Electric; Rio Rico Rentals; DLO Plumbing; Kory Engineering; Valley Septic; and Bustamante Refrigeration.

Grear was supervising site preparations by a bulldozer scraping the hard caliche ground immediately after TFD board members turned the symbolic first shovels of dirt.

“We brought in softer dirt so that they would be able to dig in easier,” Chaboya noted.