A controversial fire station vote took place Tuesday night, moments after swearing in Bert Perello, Oxnard's newly elected City Council member.
Most people agree that the city of 200,000 could use an eighth station, but not everyone was pleased with the proposed location.
Following a heated debate, the Oxnard City Council voted unanimously to build station No. 8 on the northeast corner of College Park, across from Channel Island's High School.
Thanks to the voter-approved measure O, a half-cent sales tax will pay for the new fire station. The sales tax also paid for improvements at the park, where a grand opening celebration and soccer game took place Wednesday afternoon.
Critics of the fire station's location said it will take 4 acres away from the park that serves low-income children in south Oxnard.
Dennis Ralph said not everyone can afford the organized sports that will take place on the new fenced-in soccer fields. Ralph said every inch of open spaces should be available to children.
But the City Council and the Fire Department chose the location on the corner of Rose Avenue and Channel Islands Boulevard. The city already owns the land. Firefighters said the new station will improve response times to Lemonwood and College Park neighborhoods by up to four minutes.
The Fire Department will be hiring eight firefighters to staff the single-story station. Battalion Chief Rod Thorp said the station will also have a training yard that is sorely needed. The station is slated to open in late 2014 or early 2015.