Rolling Meadows eyes Algonquin Road site for fire station

Rolling Meadows has identified land on Algonquin Road for one of two proposed city fire stations.

The city council will vote Tuesday night on a purchase and sale contract for a 77,195-square-foot site at 3201 Algonquin Road, where the former Woo Lae Oak Korean restaurant has stood vacant for three years.

Aldermen will take a first reading vote to authorize spending $1.3 million for the land, owned by Judicial Drive Property Holdings, LLC. A final, second reading vote is scheduled for Sept. 26.

The council will also vote on an ordinance amending city zoning code to allow fire stations within T-1 and T-2 office zoning districts. The Algonquin Road site is within the T-1 district.

If approved, the land purchase would lead to construction of a new Station 15. It would replace the aging downtown station at 3111 Meadow Drive.

The city's other firehouse, Station 16 at 2455 S. Plum Grove Road, would be replaced with a new station to the east, as part of the fire department's relocation plan aimed at improving response times and reducing fire risk throughout town.

Tuesday's vote is significant, since the city's elected officials have been debating whether to move and/or build fire stations for more than a decade. Though new Mayor Len Prejna supports replacing only Station 15, the newly-seated council took a 4-2 informal straw vote in June to proceed with plans to replace both stations.

Critics have said the estimated $9 million cost to acquire properties and build two new stations is too much.

Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote said that number - calculated two years ago - is still a target, but inflation may increase the price.

Aldermen have been meeting in closed session since January to consider about a dozen sites for the two new stations, leading to Tuesday's planned open session vote on the Algonquin Road site.

The location is about a half-mile from where the city considered building a third fire station. The council decided to build that station in 2014 but reversed course the next year and decided to remain with two stations but in new locations.

Negotiations, meanwhile, continue to acquire land for the second station.

Franzgrote said it would be ideal to build both stations and have them open at the same time, but the property acquisition process for the second site may not make that possible.

R.C. Wegman Construction Co., a city-hired consultant, has done preliminary drawings of what the new stations might look like. More detailed designs would be completed upon acquisition of the properties.

The earliest construction could begin for the new Station 15 is next spring, with completion 18 months later, Franzgrote said.

The council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at 3600 Kirchoff Road.

Rolling Meadows sticks with plan to move fire stations, for now

  The former Woo Lae Oak Korean restaurant in Rolling Meadows has been vacant for three years, but the city plans to purchase the land for a new fire station, pending city council approval. Christopher Placek/
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