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Waiting for a perfect proposal | IN OUR OPINION
Creating a lasting and enduring relationship with the city of Bainbridge Island takes an abundance of patience.
It’s a lesson that officials of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department are learning.
The fire department and the city have been talking since last year about the idea of joining together to build a joint police station-fire hall.
The need for new facilities is beyond debate. Bainbridge police are currently housed in a substandard, cramped and outdated building on Winslow Way, and the Bainbridge Island Fire Department also needs more space for its headquarters on Madison Avenue, as well as a new south end fire hall and improvements at its north end station.
Bainbridge fire officials were planning to talk late this week about a potential bond measure for the November ballot that could help pay for new facilities, and officials have been buoyed by a recent poll that shows strong support for either route the fire department wants to take: a go-it-alone strategy that would ask voters to approve bonds to pay for new and improved facilities, or a partnership with the city that could see the development of a joint-use station.
Fire officials have until the first week of November to decide what, if anything, should go on the November ballot.
When it comes to a joint facility, however, the fire department has found it’s hard to quickly join hands in municipal matrimony with the city.
City officials are not close to deciding where their relationship with the fire department will wind up. More analysis by the city’s consultants on potential locations for a new police station will push the city’s decision on a joint building with the fire department (or to go it alone and build a single-use police station someplace other than Madison Avenue) back to late fall — much too late to help the fire department make a decision for the November election.
While the city isn’t a runaway bride by any stretch, fire officials and others must patiently wait to see if months of flirtations turn into a solid proposal.