Itasca Fire District receives $2.5 million in federal funding to build second station

The Itasca Fire Protection District has received $2.5 million in federal funding for construction of a new station north of the railroad tracks to better provide service there in anticipation of increasing freight train traffic.

The planned second station for the district is among 15 projects in the 8th Congressional District receiving a combined $14.5 million in federal dollars allocated through Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg.

Plans for the station follow the Surface Transportation Board’s approval last year of a merger between the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads that’s expected to create more freight traffic in Itasca and block crossings more frequently in the coming years.

Last August, the fire district moved half its on-duty personnel to a temporary second station equipped with an RV for additional living space at the village of Itasca’s public works facility, 411 N. Prospect Road.

The district also has secured a site off Arlington Heights Road south of Devon Avenue for construction of a permanent second station, estimated to cost about $4.5 million. The district also is upgrading its 54-year-old station at 520 W. Irving Park Road.

Fire Chief Jack Schneidwind said Krishnamoorthi was strongly opposed to the rail merger and came through with funding the district needed to respond to its impact.

“We didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the funding,” Schneidwind said. “I cannot thank the congressman enough. The only thing a fire district relies on is property tax. That’s pretty tight when you’re trying to build another station.”

The Itasca Fire Protection District has established a temporary station north of the railroad tracks at the village of Itasca's public works facility, but plans to build a permanent station with the assistance of $2.5 million in federal funding. Courtesy of Itasca Fire Protection District

The fire district is a separate local government that largely serves withing the village of Itasca, which has a population of 9,543. About half the district’s calls for service last year came from north of the railroad tracks, according to its annual report.

The Itasca Fire District also provides automatic or mutual aid to a larger population of 269,970 residents in Addison, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Roselle, Schaumburg, Wood Dale and York Center.

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