The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is moving forward with a new emergency services station near Talkeetna.

On Tuesday, the assembly approved an ordinance providing the $1.4 million needed for the new structure.

Crews are currently operating out of Station 11-2 on the Parks Highway near the “Y.”

Emergency services director Otto Feather said that building was constructed in the 1980s and doesn’t provide adequate housing for staff. One full-time worker from the Palmer-Wasilla core area takes a 24-hour shift at the Talkeetna station to make sure it’s always staffed.

Feather said it’s increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand for service as the Valley continues to grow. He said emergency calls doubled from 2010 to 2017.

"The distances we have to deal with coming and going from the Talkeetna area and the areas north is from the time we launch an ambulance, get folks to the hospital and get back for coverage in the north could be up to four or five hours. That’s four or five hours without an ambulance on station that we’re leaving other people vulnerable,” Feather said.

The new facility, Station 11-9, will be built with sleeping rooms for more full-time staff and on-call volunteer personnel.

“You can have all the resources you want, but if you don’t have the people there-- that’s what this building is all about being able to house the forces we’re asking to do this very difficult job-- this is going to be huge for us, huge for Talkeetna, Caswell, the Trapper Creek area,” Feather said.

The borough hopes to have the building completed and staffed by this fall.

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