The City Council on Tuesday authorized spending just over $800,000 to resume planning for a three-story bayside fire station in downtown San Diego, which was put on hold two years ago when community redevelopment agencies were dismantled statewide.

The $17.5 million Fire Station 2 would be located on the southeast corner of Pacific Highway and Cedar Street, west of the train tracks, which is crucial, San Diego Fire-Rescue officials contend,, to improve response.

Fire Station 2 is considered important because firefighters responding to waterfront emergencies are sometimes slowed by traffic from passing trains and trolleys.

Fire Chief Javier Mainar told the council that having a station on the west side of the tracks would alleviate the problem.

“The passage of the trains, particularly the large freight trains, results in response-time delays,” Mainar said.

City Council President Todd Gloria said the station is also important because the downtown population is projected to continue increasing over the next few decades.

Work on the station began in 2005, but was halted when the state dismantled municipal redevelopment agencies to save money. The agencies were funded with the increase in property tax revenue generated by new developments.

According to staff, the money authorized by the council to finish the planning for the station still needs approval from the state Department of Finance, since it comes from excess proceeds from a leftover redevelopment agency bond. If the timetable holds, the station could be completed in September 2016.

Mainar said the station would be staffed by transferring one of two engine companies now at Fire Station 1, which is located near City Hall. He said he would like to get funding for an additional engine company in the future.

– City News Service