Members of the Superior Fire Department added landscaping to their resumes Tuesday, June 23.
Ten off-duty firefighters spent hours shoveling rocks, cutting fabric and installing sod around the new headquarters at 3326 Tower Ave. The Engine 1 crew watered the finished product.
“It looks so much better to have the green up to the sides of the building versus the weeds and brown dirt,” said Fire Chief Scott Gordon. “It looks fantastic.”
By providing the volunteer labor, the department stretched its $10,000 landscaping budget to purchase 50% more sod for the front of the building, Gordon said. In addition to the 14,000 square feet of sod, a rock garden was installed around the outdoor terrace and the rest of the yard was blanketed with hyrdoseed, a slurry of seed and mulch.
The department moved into the new building nearly a year ago, and Gordon said it was past time for landscaping to be done. Passers-by appeared to agree.
“We had probably 100 people honk as they drove by,” the fire chief said. “They’ve been driving by it every day wondering when it would look like a building.”
City Councilor Craig Sutherland, who represents the 8th District, bought the firefighters-turned-landscapers lunch when they were through.
“I had to,” he said. “They’re doing a great thing.”
The site will require about two hours of watering a day until it’s set, Gordon said, but it’s already attracting notice.
“You drive by and you just kind of smile,” Sutherland said. “It looks beautiful.”
The roughly 21,000 square foot building has double the space of the old fire hall and includes upgraded training facilities. City Finance Director Ashley Puetz said current projections have the final cost of the project coming in about $60,000 over budget at roughly $5.8 million. The overage is being covered by reserves from the fire department's capital funds, she said, leaving them depleted.
The final pieces of the project include running electricity to the outbuilding and adding trees and shrubs in the rock garden. A city street crew is expected to blacktop the parking lot and driveway the week of July 6, Gordon said.
“The public needs to know that we’re listening,” the fire chief said. “I’ve gotten dozens of complaints from people who want it to look like a building; now it finally does.”