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updated: 6/20/2014 9:39 AM

Glen Ellyn exploring fire safety awards

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By Safiya Merchant
smerchant@dailyherald.com

Glen Ellyn is considering a program to reward business and property owners who make fire safety improvements to their buildings.

Village Manager Mark Franz said staff members are working on a proposed Fire Prevention Award Program with an eye toward sending a recommendation to the village board later this year.

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The award would be aimed at businesses or property owners who install fire alarms or sprinkler systems primarily in the central business district.

It also would be available to those who complete projects to "replace existing non-code compliant systems," Assistant Village Manager Al Stonitsch said.

Businesses already part of the village's Downtown Retail Improvement Award Program would not be eligible.

The awards to business or property owners would not exceed $15,000, officials said, and would be presented only after the work is done. Businesses would have to spend at least $2,000 to be eligible.

"It's always good to try to encourage investment in our business community, particularly in our downtown historic district," Franz said. "Some of these buildings are a little more challenging from a fire protection standpoint because they're old and have some unique layouts."

In a draft presented Monday to the village board, staff members recommended creation of an award scale so investments of specific amounts would be eligible for rewards of certain amounts. A business that invests between $2,000 and $9,999 in fire safety improvements, for example, would be eligible for a $1,000 cash award.

But Franz said most board members appeared to support a percentage-based award.

Ultimately, he said, the proposed program would save businesses money while improving fire safety for the entire community.

"The more protection that we can provide and early alerting systems, the better chance our fire department has of responding in a timely way and minimizing the damage and saving businesses significant dollars," Franz said.

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