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Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Station addition/meeting room History & Timeline

Sometime in 1999, Sierra Pacific Power Company gave $500,000 each to 5 communities since their Alturas Power Line was visible from our communities. The money was given to Washoe County where it actually accrued interest for a few years. In Silver Knolls, the Silver Lake Property Owners' Association was asked to form a committee and to involve the residents on how they wanted to spend this money. The original committee was going to ask for a community building to be built in the park, but when they had a meeting involving the community, no one seemed too interested in this plan. At this meeting, John Howe suggested an idea to add on a bigger building to the fire station to house the fire apparatus and to turn the old firehouse into a meeting room. The group also wanted to buy a water tender. This idea was very well received. The original committee was not happy with this idea, and Washoe County sent out a ballot with the two proposals. 50% of the Silver Knolls residents returned their ballots and 92% of the returned ballots voted for the Firehouse/Meeting Room. With the results of this ballot, the Board of County Commissioners voted to go ahead with this project on January 23, 2001, for $333,000 from the Alturas power line  mitigation funds. $157,000 was to be used for a water tender bringing the total to $490,000. Silver Knolls residents have always been very supportive of their volunteer fire department. A small amount of the money had already been given away; $4,000 for a picnic shelter at North Valley Regional Park, $1,000 to the Boy Scouts for a walking trail around Silver Lake, and $5,000 to the Swan Lake Study Area.

By November 2002, we had preliminary cost and plans for the fire station/meeting room addition with Don Jeppson as the lead county person,  I'm not sure when it first went out to bid, but the bid came in too high.  On May 13, 2003, the Washoe County Commissioners voted to allocate $99,321.57 in unallocated interest money from the Alturas power line mitigation fund, to the Combined Community Building / Firehouse Expansion for the Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Station project. They appointed the City of Reno Fire Department and the Department of Public Works as joint project managers for this additional funding.  Bob Lissner of Lifestyle Homes donated 1 acre of additional land so that we could develop this project.

The project again went out for bid in August 2003 and came in significantly over budget. The budget at that time was $432,322. As of 10-9-2003, about $60,317 had been paid to Dube Architecture Group, $10,650 to Hunter Creek Engineering and $16,467 in other fees.

On January 13, 2004, the Washoe County Board of Commissioners approved a recommendation to defer purchase of the Water Tender, and divert the funds to construction of the Silver Lake Fire Station & Meeting Room. They transferred the $157,000 for the Tender plus all accrued unallocated interest, estimated at $11,778 for a total project budget of $589,321.

March 2004: Property transfer had been completed. Bids were opened on March 23rd. These bids came in even higher than the first bids, due primarily to the dramatic increase in the price of steel, and contractors' unwillingness to bid again because of a glut of jobs in the market. We were offered a metal building, 50 feet by 90 feet. It was felt that this metal building would save us about $60,000. The metal building was received in December 2004.

In March, I, as President of the Silver Lake Property Owners' Association was contacted by Sierra Pacific to discuss the building of transmission lines on Red Rock Road for the Tracy-Silver Lake transmission line project. Their proposal was to put all power, telephone and cable lines along Red Rock Road underground, and underground to the homes, with the homeowners permission, if the Silver Lake Property Owners' Association would agree to the proposal. The SLPOA Board approved the proposal and Sierra Pacific gave us $200,000 to add to our firehouse project. The check was received on April 15, 2005.

In August 2005, Washoe County changed some of their building codes for metal buildings so there was a long process of getting new plans from the manufacturer and also a new metal building.

With a budget of $575,000, the project went out to bid again July 5, 2006. To the shock of everyone, the lowest bid came in $365,000 over bid on August 2, 2006. It went before the Board of County Commissioners on August 22nd. After much discussion, they decided to delay their vote on our project and look for the money to complete our project. It was decided that Silver Knolls had waited long enough. On September 15th, the Board of County Commissioners, and then the Board of Fire Commissioners agreed to share the over bid of $365,000. Michael Del'Ostia became Washoe County project manager. Ground breaking took place on Saturday, November 18, 2006 at noon.

John and I have stayed very involved in this project from the beginning to now. We hope that the building will be completed in the best possible way. We thank everyone for all their help and concern in this project. I feel that this truly has a joint project between Silver Knolls residents, Washoe County, and the combined fire departments.

Elizabeth Howe

Our New, Improved Fire Station

Ground was broken on November 18, 2006. On that date, Washoe County Commissioner Bonnie Weber and other county officials tossed earth with shovels and fire tools. Commissioner Bob Larkin chose a "McLeod," a wildland firefighting tool, showing that there was a time when he fought fires too.


Once finished, the station was more than twice its original size, and has room for more fire trucks, a community meeting room that is available for neighborhood use, restrooms and other amenities that make our department more efficient.


The grand opening was June 6, 2009. The dedication ceremony was October 13, 2007

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