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posted: 8/14/2013 5:40 PM

New Fox River & Countryside fire station clears first obstacle

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Construction on a new Station No. 3 that actually sits within the coverage area of the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District might begin by the end of the year if the permitting process continues to find the same success with Kane County officials it did Wednesday.

Fire district trustees brought the plans to county board members for the first time. Fire District officials approved a $150,000 purchase of 2.2 acres of land at 6N330 Route 25 near St. Charles in February. The site is the former home of the old Wise-Hamlin Plastic Factory. The district purchased the land as is from a bank following a $654,000 judgment against the former owner.

All the buildings, except for a large steel structure, would be demolished, according to the plans. That will add to the cost of the station, but fire district President Jim Gaffney said the entire project must cost less than $2.3 million to be viable. The actual costs are still a floating number since district officials continue to negotiate prices and contracts.

If approved by the full county board, the district will abandon the space it rents in South Elgin for Station No. 3. The entire station would move to the Route 25 location and have access off Carl Lee Road. The location is in the middle of the area with the largest concentration of calls for Station No. 3, unincorporated Valley View, fire officials said.

The county board's Development Committee gave an initial approval to the plans Wednesday after learning the station has the support of the neighboring subdivision, several local homeowner associations and the Village of Wayne.

The station would also make frequent use of both the Stearns Road Bridge, completed in December 2010 by the county, and the Red Gate Bridge, completed in August 2011 by St. Charles. In fact, fire district attorney Ken Shepro said the new Station No. 3 will be closer to St. Charles North High School than any of the city's existing fire stations.

City officials initially fought against the formation of the new fire district, but Shepro said the new station may be a chance for an armistice.

"I feel as if we have begun to rebuild some bridges with the change of administration, both at the first station and the mayoral level," Shepro said.

The plans still need approval from the full county board before the district can move toward construction.

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