On Feb. 29, 2012, Supervisor Benoit, county and CAL FIRE officials celebrated the grand opening of Thermal Fire Station #39, marking the delivery of a project that has brought a sense of pride to the Thermal community. The new fire station, located at 86-911 58th Avenue, connects to the runway of the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport, provides better service to residents and makes a huge step forward for economic development in the Thermal area.
Construction began in April 2010 on the new Thermal Fire Station #39, which replaces the station built in the 1950s at 56-925 Vic Higgins St. The 8,900 square-foot facility includes three brand-new bays and seven individual rooms for boarding. As part of the project, a local access road to the airport was created with the addition of 58th Avenue coming off Polk Street. The station can serve a growing Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport with the capacity to house a “crash truck” for use in aircraft rescue and firefighting.
New roads, sidewalks, water, sewer and electrical lines created for this project will facilitate the future development of the Thermal area.
The total project cost $4.2 million with $3 million from the Development Impact Fees (DIF) – Fire Facilities Fund and more than $1.1 million from Riverside County Redevelopment Funds.
On Sept. 18, 2012, Supervisor Benoit, county and CAL FIRE officials and community members celebrated the grand opening of Riverside County’s newest fire station, Mecca Fire Station #40, located at 91-350 66th Avenue.
Construction began in January 2011 on the 12,411-square-foot facility which replaced the 3,058-square-foot station, built in 1952, located at 91-100 Fourth St. The station includes three brand-new bays and an eight-bed dormitory. Its compact design will help reduce response times. Photovoltaic panels installed on carports will reduce facility energy costs. The station also features drive-through capability for fire equipment, eliminating the need to stop traffic so large equipment can back into the bay.
The fire station was funded by an estimated $5.1 million from redevelopment and capital improvement funds.
On Oct. 12, 2010, Supervisor Benoit, Sheriff Stan Sniff, Supervisor Marion Ashley, county officials and community leaders celebrated the grand opening and open house of the new Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station. The station is located at 73-700 Gerald Ford Drive in the City of Palm Desert.
The 83,000-square-foot facility is the second-largest Sheriff’s station in Riverside County. It serves as the headquarters for about 220 Sheriff’s deputies and other staff for the contract cities of Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage, which all moved from the 26,000-square-foot station at the Palm Desert Civic Center in August.
The station also serves the unincorporated communities of Andreas Hills, Joshua Tree National Park, North Palm Springs, Painted Hills, Sky Valley and Thousand Palms.
The $32,916,400 structure features skylights and solar panels, helping to reduce utility costs by 20 percent and becoming the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certified building constructed by Riverside County.
Vastly improved features include interview rooms wired with audiovisual equipment and lockers with their own air-flow system to dry body armor. Other improvements include a heliport for emergency landings and a 19,784-square-foot evidence warehouse.
The $11.5 million fire station includes a 3-bay, heavy urban 7,800-square-foot station with a four story training tower at the 4,500-square-foot Fire Technology Training Center. Hundreds of firefighters who work throughout Riverside County have received training at this center.
In addition to these major projects, construction on Thousand Palms Community Park expansion and improvements was completed in fall 2008. New basketball courts, upgraded tot lots, with shade structures, upgraded barbecues, decomposed granite trail, and new grassy areas are all a part of this expansion.
The new Thermal Sheriff’s Station at 86-625 Airport Blvd., just west of Polk Street, was dedicated April 19, 2012.
The 77,000-square-foot Thermal Sheriff’s Station is the headquarters for 161 sheriff’s deputies and staff and 57 volunteers serving the contract cities of Coachella and La Quinta and the unincorporated communities of Bermuda Dunes, Chiriaco Summit, Mecca, North Shore, Oasis, Sun City Palm Desert, Thermal, Vista Santa Rosa and many other unincorporated communities in a large service area.
The station was built on 20 acres of valuable land donated by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. Proximity to Interstate 10, State Route 86 and Grapefruit Boulevard/Highway 111 made it a suitable choice to replace the cramped Indio Sheriff’s Station located at 82-695 Dr. Carreon Blvd.
To build this station, as well as the newly completed Thermal Fire Station #39, the county invested $15 million in new water and sewer lines primarily along Polk Street and Airport Boulevard. These systems are now in place, forming a backbone for the Coachella Valley Water District, removing a major impediment to development of the Thermal area and preparing the area surrounding the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport for economic growth.
The $42 million project includes a forensics laboratory, 12,000-gallon fueling station for Sheriff’s Department vehicles and a 12,000-square-foot hangar, helipad and approximately 7,000 square feet of office and aviation maintenance space for the aviation division.