DOVER — Kent County Levy Court commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to pursue purchase of a $155,000 piece of property at 2506 Forrest Ave. to increase the size of the proposed western Dover paramedics’ substation.
If acquired the added space will give the county additional engineering design options when it begins construction on the new station, said County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange.
“The property adjoins the one we purchased earlier in the year for the paramedic station,” he said. “We learned it was going on the market for sale and it’s currently a single family house right now but it’s zoned commercial.”
The home on the property will likely be demolished as construction begins on the substation.
County commissioners approved the purchase of the neighboring property at 2490 Forrest Ave. last August for $180,000.
County administration and public safety department officials believe a new substation at that location will allow paramedics to more quickly respond to the western part of the county.
“Our intention is to completely renovate the building and property and house a two-person, 24-hour paramedic unit there,” Mr. Petit de Mange said at the time.
“Right now, units that serve the areas west of Dover currently run primarily out of our headquarters which is on the eastern side of Dover — near the DelDOT headquarters. During peak call times, getting across Dover to Hartly, Pearsons Corner or Marydel can take some time.
“Positioning a unit west of Dover would get us closer to those areas. It’s a strategic location that could be a great enhancement to response times in those areas.”
Colin Faulkner, director of Kent County Public Safety, Faulkner has said Dover has gotten more congested in recent years, lowering response times to the west of town.
“A new substation could make a huge difference,” he said last year. “We run into railroad track issues sometimes and Dover is busier now than it’s ever been and there is a building boom going on.
“This would be a good way to stay ahead of the eight ball on concerns that may delay response times.”
The county is also challenged by state code, which sets a goal at reducing average response times statewide to under eight minutes in 90 percent of incidents, explained Mr. Faulkner.
“Right now, the average for the entire county is basically less than 10 minutes, but that is being brought up by our average response times in Hartly, which is 19 minutes and eight seconds, and Marydel, which is 20 minutes and 58 seconds.
A strategically placed unit closer to those communities would help out a lot,” he added.
Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or firstname.lastname@example.org