Plenty of dignitaries and local politicians showed up for a ceremony that was greeted with enthusiasm and joy. The symbolic tossing of dirt into the air means construction can begin on the $41 million facility, which opens in 2025.
The current EOC is in downtown St. Paul and has security issues. That location is also not conducive to dealing with crisis events such as civil unrest, COVID, floods, tornadoes or other catastrophes. The Blaine venue will have all the bells and whistles and provide many benefits to the city.
“Gonna have a lot of great union jobs that are done out here,” Walz said. “This is going to be a very important place. It’s going to allow what Minnesotans expect us to do. For all the elected officials here, our first and foremost responsibility is the safety and security of Minnesotans. All of the first responders, all of the folks here who make this happen, know that’s it. It has to be properly coordinated from somewhere and we know that this is the place. We’re going to have s state-of-the-art modern facility that will serve the state of Minnesota for generations to come.
Blaine politicians, police and firefighters are excited about the decision to build a new EOC in the city.
“We’ve waited a long time for this day as a state and as the Blaine community,” said Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany. “For a couple of years we heard that it may be coming here. To say it piqued our interest is an understatement. We’re very fortunate.”
Blaine location a plus
The new EOC will have a capacity of 200. One of the benefits of relocating to Blaine is that the city is not hemmed in like downtown St. Paul and access to the facility is going to be easier. Blaine’s close proximity to Minneapolis and St. Paul is also viewed as a plus.
“We’re very happy that you’re here, Podany said. “We want you to commit yourself to the Blaine community. Support our local businesses. Take advantage of the amenities that we have here. Take some time driving around and get to know Blaine – other than Highway 65. Let’s give that a couple years. As we all know there’s light on the horizon there. Couple years from now it will be phenomenal.”
“I don’t think that I can overstate just how important the new state-of-the-art facility will be for our emergency responders,” said Anoka County Commissioner Julie Braastad. “We are very excited that today we get to celebrate the groundbreaking and look forward to seeing it completely in operation. I remember our first meeting years back when they discussed about coming out to Anoka County and the great city of Blaine. It’s a great partnership. Keep things coming this way.”
The Blaine EOC will have a 10 acre footprint and be the hub for Minnesota’s crisis response teams. The new site will be located on Pheasant Ridge Drive Northeast.