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Article updated: 8/21/2013 9:32 AM

Rolling Meadows studies moving downtown fire station

By Deborah Donovan

Rolling Meadows' downtown fire station could be moved to better serve residents of the south and southeast parts of the city, the city council indicated Tuesday night.

Reacting to a consultant's report that the station should be moved and the fact that the fire department building at Kirchoff Road and Meadows Drive is considered badly in need of repair, aldermen directed Chief Scott Franzgrote to bring ideas for where to build a new station.

The south and southeast parts of the city have more calls for service than the north side, the report said.

Aldermen agonized over the decision, with Len Prejna of the 2nd Ward warning, "Moving a fire station is one of the most emotional things for a community."

Laura Majikes of the 3rd Ward also expressed reluctance to move the station without having an ambulance in that area for older people on the city's north side who have come to rely on the service.

The council also reiterated on a 5-2 straw poll the decision from years ago to reject building a third fire station, saying the community could not afford it. The city's second station is on Meacham Road south of Kirchoff Road.

The council was closely divided on whether to build the new station on the site of an equally decrepit old public works building at Central Road and Barker Avenue, as recommended by the consultants. That building is used for storage.

Aldermen agreed with Franzgrote that the proximity to Rolling Meadows High School and other schools could make it difficult for emergency equipment to travel from that site to other neighborhoods.

The council also rejected a recommendation to add an ambulance and six paramedic-firefighters to the department.

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