BREAKING: Bonney-Watson Site Will Pass Away For New Fire Station

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by Ralph Nichols

Fire District No. 2 commissioners voted at their Dec. 2 meeting to purchase the Bonney-Watson funeral chapel property at 900 SW 146th St. for a new fire station for the Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department.

All three commissioners were “advocates for the new site,” Fire Chief Mike Marrs told The B-Town Blog.

Marrs said earlier that once a property for the new fire station was acquired, “design and permitting will start in earnest around the first of the year.”

This timetable should permit construction to begin in December 2010 or January 2011, with the fire department moving into its new station about 12 months later.

Cameron Smock, president of CEO of B-W Memorial Corp., which owns this and other Bonney-Watson chapels in King County, said “the fire department approached us unsolicited” to inquire about purchasing this site.

B-W CEO Cameron Smock and Fire Chief Mike Marrs

“Bonney-Watson has been serving Burien for a long time, the fire department needed a location for its new station, and this seemed like the right thing to do for the community,” Smock noted.

Another reason they decided to sell is that, with their chapel and cemetery in SeaTac and a chapel in Federal Way, “we will continue to serve Burien.”

Fire District No. 2 and Bonney-Watson are expected to issue a joint press release about the purchase Friday morning (Dec. 4).

Voters in Fire District No. 2 approved a $25 million bond issue in November 2008 for construction of new downtown and Normandy Park fire stations. This includes property acquisition and equipping the stations.

Burien needs a new fire station to replace the outdated existing facility at the corner of SW 151st Street and 8th Ave South.

The new fire station will be at the current Bonney-Watson site at 900 SW 146th Street.

A top priority for the fire department has been a downtown location where response times will be no more than seven minutes anywhere in the district. In addition, a location near major arterials that provide direct access to State Route 509 was desired.

The location of the Bonney-Watson property meets both requirements, and also provides “plenty of on-site parking for us, even when station public meeting rooms are in use,” Marrs said.

Some Burien City Council members were concerned about a possible net loss of public parking when the fire district earlier considered another property in the downtown area.

The Normandy Park fire station at 135 S. Normandy Road will be built at that location. The existing station will remain in operation during construction.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the press release.

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21 Responses to “BREAKING: Bonney-Watson Site Will Pass Away For New Fire Station”
  1. Lindsey says:

    As beneficial as this may be for the community, I am deeply saddened by loosing Bonney Watson. The chapel holds special memories, as that was where my brothers funeral took place.

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  2. Burien citizen says:

    Thank you Bonney Watson, you stepped up when the city of Burien was worried about a parking lot. The city officials can be all alone in their ghost town.

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  3. Jess says:

    Oh that poor old beautiful brick Tudor house! I hope someone will move it instead of putting it into the landfill.

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  4. feisty says:

    The Old Burien Fire house has a great pole for the next Strip Club or Red Light Barista coffee shop…I will also be sad at the loss of Bonney Wattson Funeral Home…lots of memories…..

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  5. Long time Burien Resident says:

    I am excited to see the fire station expand – this will be great for the community!
    Also, remember that we are not “losing Bonney Watson” – they have several funeral homes in the area – the closest being Seatac – with that HUGE cemetery. They have been around FOREVER – since like the 1800’s or something.
    Change is always good!
    That brick house is beautiful, I hope it doesnt see the wrecking ball!

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  6. What a dump place to put a fire station! Destroying Burien’s land mark doesn’t make me happy. These commissioners have to go.

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  7. What a loss of history to the Burien community. Dale & Louise Parker faithfully served the Burien community through thick and thin. It’s so unfortunate to see the destruction of the past as corporations and cities make way for the new. How many funerals and weddings were conducted in the Parker Chapel! Burien is loosing a legacy. Dale and Louise Parker competed against Washington Memorial for decades. And now that Bonney-Watson has the opportunity, money speaks. Sure, it’s good for the community to gain a fire station, but history does not compete with dollars. Hopefully the firemen at the station will create some memorial for the lives which have been celebrated throughout the decades when they design the new station.

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  8. Jay says:

    WTH… Could they move it any closer to our homes? Excuse me for bitching, I should be thankful that are now able to just roll out a hose to my house and not even fire up the trucks if there is an emergency. It’s not that we don’t already have enough traffic blazing down 146th, now we get the sounds of the sirens right on top of the turbo props that take off from Sea-Tac that travel West up 146th. Are you kidding me??? Why is this not located along 1st ave? They should have moved this to the Nissan Dealership site and they would have all the space they needed, they could control the lights and have access to all the major routes immediatly. It’s not like Nissan will make a come back at the 1st ave space and Auto row will be moved to DesMoines Memorial Drive at some point.

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    • Concerned firefighter... says:

      Well, if you’re concerned about how close the new fire station will be located to you, then you should look no farther than the City of Burien. After all, if was the CITY OF BURIEN who refused to sell the hardly-used municipal parking lot located directly across the street from the current Fire District 2 headquarters station.

      Keep in mind, that the original Fire District 2 HQ’s has been located where it sits now (15100 8th Ave SW) since the 1940’s. It has been added-on to and remodeled multiple times over the years.

      As the area grew, this fire station’s location has become strategically important. Maping and call volume analysis has shown that the response times are ideal in all directions, and a future station must be located in the general vicinity to maintain excellent response times.

      The administration and elected officials of Fire district 2, attempted to work with the City of Burien, and hoped the city would agree to sell the parking lot across the street, as the property owner who owns the stip mall (where the cleaners, Silers licensing, etc is located) was willing to sell to the fire department. the strip mall land and the parking lot land would’ve met the needs of the fire department.

      However, the City of Burien repeatedly thwarted any chance of purchasing the parking lot by the Fire District, and have strung the fire department along, giving the appearance of “working” with the fire department.

      Some of you have asked why doesn’t the fire department just build on the Nissan site? Well, it all comes down to response times. Building on the Nissan site make little sense, as another station is located close by at 1st and Normandy Road. And as I stated above, the area at and around the current fire station location is best for response times.

      So, that is why the new station will be built four blocks to the north. Fire District 2 would’ve loved to have the new station constructed near where they are now, but the City of Burien squashed any chances of that. And if you’re concerned about noise from the fire station, direct your complaints to the City of Burien, as they are to blame.

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      • Jay says:

        The Dodge dealership is another perfectly good option. Well Heck… any of those now empty spaces along 1st ave would be a good choice.

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  9. Randy says:

    I agree that the Nissan building woud have been a far better choice. Residential neigborhoods are shrinking at an alarming rate. When there is plenty of commercial space available it just seems that destroying a Burien land mark shows a lack compassion for the land mark as well as concern for the peace and quite the residents in the neigbor hood will no longer have.
    But this is not a surprise, I’m sure it has been justified since it is for the better good.

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    • Concerned firefighter... says:

      See the response above about why the Nissan lot/location is not ideal for a new station.

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  10. Burien citizen says:

    The Ford shop, Ambaum Blvd. and the autobody shop creates way more noise than a fire station.

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    • Jay says:

      They were in the area when I purchased my home and I accepted that for what it was. The Ford shop and the autobody shop don’t have sirens and are not speeding down a residential area to get some where quickly. Those two businesses don’t work 24/7 365 a year and are quiet after closing time!

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      • Concerned firefighter... says:

        Again, you can place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the City of Burien. They denied the fire district every step of the way. This city manager and a majority of the council have been wrongly advised by City of Burien Economic Development Manager Dick Lohman that the parking lot is of huge importance.

        Parking is very important, but so is fire station! Fire District 2 even offered to help with the purchase of land to offset the loss of parking spaces, however the City of Burien balked and didn’t go along with that plan.

        You should direct your concerns towards the city council, as they have not been very good partners with the fire district, and have played a fairly one-sided hand when dealing with Fire District 2.

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  11. Rob says:

    All’s I know about that parking lot is I just found it after hearing people bitch and moan about it for two years. I too think that the Nissan Building would have been a better choice, but the new location should be good as well. And to “Concerned Firefighter” maybe if you showed up to a city council meeting and let your feelings be known, onstead of after the fact, the outcome would have been different.

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  12. Burien citizen says:

    Rob read the explanation above why the Nissan site will not work. Your comment makes no sense. Many meetings have been attended and these issues brought up. This city is ran horrible and will be a ghost town for some time.

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  13. Concerned Firefighter says:

    Rob, clearly you didn’t understand or even attempt to comprehend my posts. For over four years, the fire district has expressed their concerns to the City of Burien about the need to located a new station NEAR the vicinity of the existing one. The city hamstringed the district at every turn.

    The city council was WELL aware of the needs of the fire district, but chose to ignore them.

    Further, it seems those of you who keep mentioning the “Nissan” dealership, along with the BBC Dodge dealership location are not paying attention. So, I will explain this ONCE AGAIN!

    You can’t just pick any old location for a new fire station. It has to be strategically located so that the response times are generally favorable in all directions. If you live in Seahurst or Three Tree Point, how would you feel if your response time increased due to the station being arbitrarily moved elsewhere? I imagine if you house was on fire, or you or your loved one was having a major medical emergency or traumatic event, you would rather have the station located in an advantageous location.

    So to put it bluntly, get a clue and get your facts straight before posting….

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    • Jay says:

      So in other words… we should all sit back, not say anything, not express ourselves, not put out ideas, not communicate with our fellow readers and neighbors and allow you to tell us what is best.

      Oh thank you for leading us to what we have all been missing… You have it all correct and we shouldn’t post anything and just allow your voice to be heard.

      What do you think you would hear from the people in Three Tree Point and Seahurst if you put the station right next to their homes if it was strategically located?

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  14. Burien citizen says:

    Jay we can appreciate your expression and questions, it just seems you don’t like the answer and know more about fire station locations than an actual firefighter. This question has been answered multiple times here.

    As far as the Three Tree and Seahurst members, I’m sure they would be pleased to have a fire station in their neighborhood. I’m sure they would also be upset if a fire station was put on 1st Ave near heavy traffic and poor access to delay response times as would you during an emergency.

    I’m excited were getting a new fire station and upset the city of Burien would not allow them to purchase an empty parking lot in the empty town center for a station. So Jay and the others who think 1st Ave is the best TALK TO THE CITY; they apparently have this all figured out; empty parking lots, and empty multi-million dollar town sqaures are more important.

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  15. Stewart Lowe says:

    So if someone dies in a fire the firemen can just give the body a ride to the cemetary.

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