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updated: 2/25/2013 11:17 PM

Fox River trustees approve plan to move third fire station

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Taxpayers served by the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District could see better service times as soon as this fall, according to a plan approved Monday night to build a third fire station that will take advantage of two key Fox River crossings.

Trustees approved a $150,000 purchase of 2.2 acres of land at 6N330 Route 25 in unincorporated Kane County near St. Charles. The site is the former home of the old Wise-Hamlin Plastic Factory. Though not technically a short sale, the property is bank land after a $654,000 judgment against the former land owner.

"They are biting a big bullet," said district President Jim Gaffney of the deal the district is getting from the bank. "I think it's a terrific deal, a good price."

The bite trustees will take is purchasing the land as is. That includes the existing steel structure on the property, a factor that may add to demolition costs.

However, the current plan involves modifying the steel structure, adding up to 4,500 square feet of living quarters, and getting the station up and running by October or November.

An architect and engineers will ultimately decide if that plan is feasible. If not, the station may not open until 2014.

Until then, the current Station No. 3, in South Elgin, will remain in operation. The station is technically outside the district, which is one of the main reasons trustees want to move it to the Route 25 location.

The new station would also be about 1 mile away from both the Red Gate Road Bridge and Stearns Road Bridge to allow for swift access across the Fox River. Rescuers from the current Station No. 3 must often navigate across railroad tracks and a viaduct, both of which have the potential to create long delays if trains are present or the viaduct is closed.

Trustees said district residents in Valley View, Wayne and Fox River Estates have all applauded the pending move in community forums.

Trustees will now begin the process of getting zoning approval from Kane County. If approved, construction would begin soon after.

The actual cost of the new station construction won't been known until architectural drawings are complete and trustees know if the existing steel structure on the property can be used.

"The vast majority of the people we deal with will be right in the middle of the community we'll be located in now," Gaffney said.

The district is responsible for a 50-mile territory that covers St. Charles, Campton and Wayne townships in Kane and DuPage counties. It includes sections of the villages of Wayne and Campton Hills.

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