VISTA — A major project in the Vista Fire Department is moving forward as personnel in the city’s oldest fire station prepare to move out in the coming months to allow for the structure’s demolition and eventual redevelopment.
Fire department leadership said they have outgrown Station 3 on Old Taylor Street that was built in 1962 and remodeled in 1997. A major part of the planned redevelopment is reorienting the station so fire trucks can exit onto Vista Way rather than Old Taylor Street, hopefully allowing for faster response times.
The $10.5 million project became a reality in 2021 when the city received approximately $5 million in funding from the California Office of Emergency Services. Another $4.5 million came from the Vista Fire Protection District, with the city covering the remaining cost.
“We’re excited. We’ve been trying to find a way to update that station for years, so we are looking forward to having a new, up-to-date facility to serve our community,” said Vista Deputy Chief Craig Usher.
The oldest of the city’s six stations is planned to be demolished in May or June, with construction to follow over the coming two years and completion scheduled for fall 2024, according to the city.
Personnel housed at the station are preparing to move to a 3-bedroom home on surplus land along Arcadia Avenue owned by the Vista Unified School District, which will serve as the temporary station until the renovation is complete, Usher said.
The home is currently used by the district for office and instructional space but will undergo interior remodeling to accommodate five bedrooms to house the station’s fire personnel, as well as a living area and a kitchen.
One fire truck and one paramedic ambulance will be parked on the property, surrounded mainly by the school district’s maintenance yard and a residential neighborhood to the east.
“This property shares a fence with one resident, and he’s actually excited about it,” said Usher.
Once completed, the new station will be able to house up to seven firefighters rather than the current five and is planned to feature solar power, electric vehicle charging stations, and “a lot of health and safety measures to keep our firefighters safe” Usher said.
The fire station renovation has been identified as one of the top-priority projects for the city, along with another public safety project that recently received state funding.
In August 2022, the city obtained $1.6 million in state funds with the help of Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) to relocate the Vista Sheriff’s substation at Luz Duran Park along Townsite Drive.
The project will relocate the current substation at the park to a vacant city-owned building on Vista Village Drive, just a few minutes away, and the old substation will be remodeled into a community center.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the building on the new site will be remodeled “in the near future,” but no specific timeline was given.
“With the new space department personnel will be occupying, there will be more office space for personnel, and the building site would be in a centralized area within the city of Vista boundaries,” the department said in a statement.