WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - West Palm Beach has decided to move forward with plans to build a new fire rescue training facility for its firefighters.
The city has not had a facility of its own since it sold the land of its old facility near Interstate 95 and Okeechobee Boulevard to the Florida Department of Transportation as part of an interchange expansion project in the 1990s.
Firefighters have trained at the old City Hall building, the defunct Palm Beach Mall and other locations, but with some of those properties targeted for re-development, Mayor Jeri Muoio said it was time to build a new facility.
"We go through different training scenarios to make it as realistic as possible," said Doug Greene, a lieutenant with the West Palm Beach Fire Department. "We've been training on the streets, laying fire hose, shutting down traffic, but now that some of those options have gotten away from us [so] we definitely need a training facility now."
Muoio said the city had considered several locations, including one near the Palm Beach Mall near Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.
The new training facility was projected to cost the City nearly $1.3 million.
Muoio said she hoped money saved from the construction of three new fire stations would help pay for part of the cost.
The new facility was expected to open as early as next year.