Rolling Meadows Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote will hold informational meetings this spring to explain options for the future of the city's fire stations and get residents' input.
The city council, which has discussed the stations for years, pledged to make a decision in April on plans that could include the construction of two new fire stations at a cost of up to $9 million.
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"It's a pretty big decision, and aldermen asked me to do what I can to make sure the community is aware of this decision," Franzgrote said Tuesday.
Franzgrote recommends building two new stations. One would be south of the downtown station, located at 3111 Meadow Drive, and the other would be east of the existing station at 2455 Plum Grove Road.
Mutual aid agreements with neighboring communities, along with a recent study the city commissioned, factor into the choice of recommended locations.
The condition of the 50-year-old downtown station, which aldermen have called an "embarrassment," makes a decision necessary, Franzgrote said.
The first meeting, designed especially for senior citizens, will take place at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Community Center, 3705 Pheasant Drive.
The remaining meetings are set for:
• 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, City Hall, 3600 Kirchoff Road
• 6 p.m. Thursday, March 27, Fire Station 15, 3111 Meadow Drive
• 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, City Hall
• 6 p.m. Thursday, April 10, Fire Station 15
The fire station meetings are designed to show residents its condition. Repairing the station to make it suitable for a decade would cost about $600,000, the chief said. Building a new station on that site would cost an estimated $2.5 million to $3.5 million, while new stations on new sites would cost $3.5 million to $4.5 million each.
The station at Plum Grove Road is 33 years old and in better condition than the downtown station, official say.
At one point the city received a grant to help fund a third station, but the council decided the city could not afford to build and staff it.
Documents related to a report Franzgrote gave to the council in November concerning the stations are available at the city's website, www.ci.rolling-meadows.il.us.
"Moving a fire station is emotional on both ends," he said. "It's emotional for the people who are losing the nearby station and for those who will live by the new one. My job is to look at the data, take emotion out of it and use our resources to provide the most good for the most people."