In 2012 the East West Gateway Council of Governments, a regional coordinating organization, received a $3.1 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security to design and construct a Base of Operations for the St. Louis Fire Department and other regional agencies to house fire and rescue boats on the Mississippi River. The grant stipulated that the BOO was to be constructed on renovated river barges and to provide storage, maintenance and launch/recovery facilities for one 60 ft fire boat and up to six 24 ft. river rescue boats. Other facilities include a command and control center and berthing and living quarters for up to 12 full-time, onboard firefighters and command staff.

The project is to be accomplished in three phases. The first phase is to determine the requirements the barges. A deck area of approximately 120 feet by 75 feet was specified. This required that two barges be purchased. The second phase is to refurbish the barges and join the two structures to form one hull. The final phase is to build the two –story superstructure to house the boats on a first level and provide living and working quarters on a second level.

A goal of the project is to be as sustainable as possible. Reusing existing barges was one step. But the project also includes a photovoltaic array on the roof for operational electrical power, daylighting of boat deck and significant water and fuel conservation measures, which also assist in meeting the operational requirement that the BOO be able to be self-sustaining
for up to 7 days.