Delay may occur if officials rebid fire station project

HARLINGEN — Officials will consider cutting project costs after a construction company withdrew its bid to build the city’s newest fire station.

Last night, City Manager Dan Serna said Harlingen-based Pietra Construction withdrew its low bid of $1.2 million to build the proposed 5,277-square-foot, two-story fire station that will serve the city’s fast-growing west side.

The company did not state the reason it withdrew its bid, Serna said.

Serna said officials will review Harlingen-based Couric Enterprises’ second-lowest bid of $1.5 million to determine if costs could be cut to about $1.1 million.

“We’re going to see if we can bring it below budget,” Serna said. “You cut things out or change design features.”

Serna said officials will reject bids and request new proposals if they cannot cut costs to about $1.1 million.

That likely would delay the project for at least a couple of months.

Officials plan to build the city’s eighth fire station at the corner of Stuart Place and Brennaman roads.

For years, Harlingen leaders have planned the project to bring fire service to the west side, where the city has annexed land as far west as Bass Boulevard.

However, no fire station has been built in the area to service the region.

In 2003, voters approved a bond issue to build the fire station on five acres purchased for about $240,000.

Fire Chief Rogelio Rubio said the new station will cut response time to about four to five minutes.

Currently, the city’s Dixieland Road fire station often handles emergency calls to the west side.

From Dixieland Road, fire trucks often take six to eight minutes to reach the west side, Rubio said.

Rubio plans to shift firefighters’ schedules to be able to staff the new station without hiring new firefighters, officials said.

The project has faced some opposition.

In July, some area residents and neighbors opposed plans to build the new station, arguing the proposed facility would bring noise, devalue their homes and help lead to the area’s commercialization.

Despite the opposition, commissioners approved staff’s request for a permit to allow the fire station to be built in the residential and agricultural area.