Aug 31, 2021 - News

Contractor for delayed Des Moines fire station faces $500 daily fine

The exterior of Des Moines Fire Station 11.

Des Moines' new fire station at 4144 Hubbell Ave. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

An $8.3 million fire station under construction on Des Moines' northeast side is months behind schedule and won't open until late September or October, Fire Department chief John TeKippe told Axios last week.

Why it matters: Every second counts in an emergency. The station is projected to cut response times in half for parts of the city.

What's happening: Contractor Graphite Construction began accruing a $500 daily penalty earlier this month after cabinetry work set back the project's completion.

  • City-initiated construction changes and trouble getting materials during the pandemic have contributed to the delays, Graphite owner Russell Carew told Jason.
  • He plans to ask the city to waive the penalties.

Context: Calls to build Des Moines Fire Station 11 began more than six years ago as area growth increased demand for emergency services.

  • But it wasn't until 2019 that a voter-approved local option sales tax paved the way for a new station at the formerly vacant and now-demolished Relax Inn at 4144 Hubbell Ave. It was originally slated to open this spring.
  • Des Moines has been working with Altoona's fire department in recent years to respond to the rise in emergencies. That arrangement will continue after #11 opens.

Of note: Carew's company was hired for a $560K DSM park improvement project last month despite complaints from multiple City Council members about its progress on the new fire station.


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