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Topeka eyes former Starcraft site for fire station

The Topeka Redevelopment Commission voted Monday to make an offer for the former Starcraft Marine facility that sits southeast of downtown, with the idea that the spot could be converted into a new fire station.

The town has had a new fire station in its five-year plan, but only in the past several months has the town council begun to look at it as a priority.

Initially, the town was considering building a station behind the town’s garage, but recently began to wonder if there was enough room in that location.

At Monday’s meeting, the RDC gave town attorney Bill Eberhard the go-ahead to make an offer to the owners of the Starcraft site, including the possibility that any difference between a sale price and the owner’s asking price be considered as a deductible donation to the town.

RDC members felt that the site would have enough room and possibly areas for training. One question was on access into the site and whether or not the entrance onto South Main Street was the only ingress.

The town had also considered putting the station on land it owns at CR 5 and CR 700S, but felt that was too far out of town for the department. The town may consider creating a business incubator site at that location to bring in startup companies. That would also be more visible for the companies that would locate at the SR 5 location.

Eberhard suggested the town look at getting the industrial park site rezoned from B-3 to industrial.