New Wheeling fire station to cost $5 million, documents show

The construction of a new fire station on McHenry Road is the centerpiece of a five-year, $42.5 million capital improvement plan approved this week by the Wheeling village board.

The station will replace the one in the municipal complex on Community Boulevard, officially known as station No. 42. It will retain that identifier.

The current station No. 42 occupies two rooms in the police station and is manned by a three-person engine crew. A full-sized and fully staffed fire station on McHenry Road should improve emergency coverage in the northwest portion of Wheeling and reduce response times, Fire Chief Mike McGreal said.

Plans to relocate the station were being developed at the same time as the plans for the new station No. 23, which opened this summer on Wheeling Road north of Hintz Road, Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said. Both stations will have the same architectural design.

A third fire station operates at 499 S. Milwaukee Ave. That's station No. 24, and it will remain in service.

Construction of the new station is expected to cost $5 million and is scheduled for 2022, documents indicate.

The village board unanimously approved the capital plan Monday. It covers projects to be undertaken between 2022 and 2026, with more than $15 million in work set for next year.

In addition to the fire station, big-ticket items include:

• Street repairs and improvements expected to cost more than $6.6 million.

• Water main replacements in 2023 and 2024 that are expected to cost nearly $7.9 million.

• Stabilization of Buffalo Creek's banks, which will begin next year and wrap up in 2025. It could cost $2.4 million.

Sidewalk improvements, lighting improvements in the village boardroom and storm sewer projects are among the other efforts in the plan. So are window replacements at the police station, improvements to a stretch of Lake-Cook Road and maintenance work on the fountain on the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road, an area called Friendship Park.

"The Friendship Park fountain is now over 20 years old," Public Works Director Dan Kaup told the village board in November. "I think of it as a brand-new feature, but, you know, time marches on."

That maintenance work is scheduled for 2022 and will cost an estimated $30,000, documents indicate.

The new fire station is the costliest project in the plan.

It will be built on about 2 acres north of Dundee Road, near a village water tower and well house. Features will include a vehicle bay, a kitchen and dining area, offices and sleeping quarters.

Once the new station is completed, the current station's space will be repurposed, McGreal said.

Funding for the station and the other projects will come from village reserves, gasoline taxes, grants and other sources - but not loans or property tax-rate increases.

"We've been saving our money so that we don't have to take out debt," Trustee Mary Papantos said before Monday's vote. "And I think that's a big deal."

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Funds for Buffalo Creek improvement project in Wheeling's proposed 2022 budget

  Wheeling Fire Chief Mike McGreal poses outside station No. 23 on its first day of service this summer. Another new station is being planned elsewhere in town; it will have the same architectural design as station No. 23. Mark Welsh/, July 2021
This architectural rendering shows the design for a fire station to be built on McHenry Road in Wheeling. Although it'll be station No. 42, it has the same design as station No. 23, which opened this year elsewhere in town. Courtesy of Wheeling
Paul Valade/pvalade@dailyherald.comWheeling trustees this week approved a five-year capital plan that includes millions to build a new fire station next to a water tower on McHenry Road.
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