Come summer, firefighters in Independence will officially have a new place to train, while others will move into a new fire house on the west side of town.

Come summer, firefighters in Independence will officially have a new place to train, while others will move into a new fire house on the west side of town.

The Fire Department’s new $2.75 million Fire Training Center will celebrate its grand opening June 20 at the live burn training facility at Missouri 78 and Powell Road near Metropolitan Community College-Blue River. The state-of- the-art building will allow firefighters and cadets to simulate real-world firefighting scenarios.

“This is really going to benefit the city,” said Ron Yale, a member of the city’s Public Safety Oversight Committee. The committee oversees the use of sales tax funds for public safety capital improvement projects.

Yale said the grand opening celebration will include live burn and medical emergency demonstrations.

“We are going to have a real good turnout,” Yale said. “It’ll be a nice thing for people to come see.”

Also, in the third week of July, the city will officially open the $3 million Fire Station No. 3 at Winner Road and Ash Avenue. Yale said no date has been confirmed for that celebration.
Both projects are funded by a public safety sales tax approved by voters in 2004. The fire protection portion of the sales tax was divided: The first was 1/4 of 1 percent for the first four years and the second, which began in January of this year, is 1/8 of 1 percent tax rate for the next 8 years.

Original projections were close to $35 million, and current projections are at $32.6 million.
The tax has generated more than $21 million to date. Those funds have been used to replace Fire Station Nos. 3, 4 and 7, and upgrade Nos.  6, 8, 9 and 10, among other things.

“(The city) is doing exactly what they said they were going to do,” Yale said.