Grayslake Fire Protection District has opened a new station designed to improve response times to the Saddlebrook Farms development in Round Lake Park and nearby areas.
Built at Peterson Road and Route 60, the district's third firehouse debuted at 7 a.m. Monday. It'll be staffed 24 hours a day with three firefighter/paramedics.
Deputy Fire Chief Greg Formica said it took eight to 10 minutes "on a good day" to reach district's southwestern zone from the closest station in downtown Grayslake. Now, officials said, help will arrive within the desired four to six minutes if not sooner.
"We so desperately wanted to have a presence out there," Formica said.
Saddlebrook Farms, a 55-and-older community, is almost on the new firehouse's doorstep. Residents near Cedar Lake Road and Route 60 and those to the south in the Ivanhoe Estates subdivision, also will benefit from the new station.
Funding for the third station was approved in a 2008 tax-increase referendum. An owner of a $200,000 market value home was projected to pay an extra $100 annually to the fire district.
About $2.2 million was budgeted for the 10,000-square-foot firehouse in unincorporated Lake County. It's a single-story structure with equipment and truck areas, firefighter dormitory rooms and offices.
The fire district doesn't include only the namesake village. Third Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach and unincorporated Lake County areas of Wildwood, Gages Lake, Highland Lake and Fremont Township also are within its boundaries.
Another fire station on Brae Loch Road near College of Lake County is used for coverage in the district's eastern area.