Now that the annexation has taken effect (June 1, 2011) the City of Kirkland has assumed responsibility for the proposed Finn Hill fire station project initiated by Fire District #41. Prior to the annexation, the District was studying alternative sites for consolidating the two fire stations on Finn Hill into one location that is better able to serve the area. One of the possible sites for the consolidation was at Finn Hill Junior High and the other was in Big Finn Hill Park at the corner of Juanita Drive and NE 138th Street. A public meeting was held in March 2011 for local residents and a variety of concerns and questions about the project were raised.
The City of Kirkland is now planning to hire a consultant to conduct a new site analysis that will consider the two existing sites and other appropriate sites. Considerations such as fire and emergency medical response times, project costs, traffic impacts, the availability of property and environmental and neighborhood impacts will be studied. A community outreach element will include ongoing updates and check-ins with the Finn Hill neighbors. Staff expects to complete the site study by the end of 2011.
Earlier this year, a contractor hired by the District to conduct soil samples removed vegetation on the Big Finn Hill Park site. Kirkland’s Parks Maintenance staff visited the site in June with King County officials and local neighbors to assess the need for restoration work. It was determined that the best course of action is to delay any restoration work until the fall since new plants are less likely to survive in the summer months. Kirkland Parks will work with the neighbors to organize a forest restoration event to remove non-native vegetation that currently inhabits the property and install new native plants where appropriate. Whether or not the Big Finn Hill site is ultimately chosen for a fire station, the property will benefit from the restoration work.
Interested parties can visit the City of Kirkland’s website for more information about the fire station project and to stay updated about the site study. Go to www.kirklandwa.gov/finnhillstation.