Rolling Meadows fire station plan opponents not giving up

The Rolling Meadows City Council voted 4-3 on April 15 to build two new fire stations in new locations, but aldermen and citizens on the losing side are making it clear they will not give up easily.

Sixth Ward Alderman John D'Astice said Tuesday he wants to discuss putting the issue of moving the city's fire stations to voters as a referendum. He also said he wants the city council to study basing an ambulance on the city's south side as an alternative to moving the stations.

Mayor Tom Rooney said Tuesday that both topics are suitable for discussion at future council meetings.

Supporters of the plan approved earlier this month say replacing the decrepit downtown fire station with a new one farther east, near New Wilke and Central roads, will provide faster service to the area along Algonquin Road, especially older multifamily complexes more at risk for serious fires. However, D'Astice, who represents much of the area, said he thinks most of the calls there are for ambulance service.

A second station also would be moved from 2455 Plum Grove Road, west of Route 53, to Hicks Road, between Kirchoff Road and Euclid Avenue.

The cost of the plan has been estimated as high as $10 million.

For years the city council has been strongly against the expense of building and staffing a third station, even at one point rejecting a grant that would have funded much of the construction costs.

At Tuesday's council meeting, Third Ward Alderman Laura Majikes displayed a stack of letters and emails she had received on the issue.

“Everyone who has written opposes the fire stations being moved,” she said.

Second Ward Alderman Len Prejna, also an opponent of moving the fire stations, said he also has received considerable correspondence and “even a knock on the door.”

A resident, William Amundsen, told the council that moving the two stations would be too expensive, but he spoke in favor of a third station to protect the southern part of the city.

“I think a referendum is the answer,” he said. “Let us all vote for it.”

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