Rolling Meadows eyes land on Hicks Road for second firehouse
Rolling Meadows could purchase property less than a mile from its existing fire station on Plum Grove Road for the second of two proposed fire stations.
The city plans to offer $800,000 for 42,246 square feet of land at 2320 and 2350 Hicks Road, just west of Route 53 and north of Kirchoff Road. On Tuesday, the city council voted 4-3 in a first reading vote to authorize the purchase from MAB LLC, also doing business as Platinum Home Mortgage Corp. A final, second reading vote is scheduled for Oct. 24.
The land deal would be the second piece to the fire department's controversial $9 million plan to relocate both city firehouses, aimed at improving response times and reducing fire risk throughout town.
Last month, the council voted 4-2 to buy land for $1.3 million at 3201 Algonquin Road on the south side of town. The 77,195-square-foot site is where a new station would be built to replace the aging downtown Station 15 at 3111 Meadow Drive.
While Station 15 would move south, Station 16 at 2455 S. Plum Grove Road would move slightly east.
The plan has rankled residents and aldermen that would lose a fire station close to them.
"I have not been in support of this from day one," said Alderman Laura Majikes, whose northeast side Ward 3 is near the downtown station. "I want Station 15 to stay where it is and rebuild there. Leave both stations where they are."
Majikes voted against the Hicks Road land purchase, along with Alderman Joe Gallo of Ward 4, where Station 15 is located, and newly-seated Alderman Nick Budmats of northwest side Ward 2. Budmats, appointed Sept. 26 after the death of Alderman Jerry Hill, said he is seeking more information about the relocation plans from new Fire Chief Terry Valentino, but is a "no" vote for now.
Alderman Mike Cannon of west side Ward 1 said a previous proposal to add a third fire station to serve the south side wasn't an affordable option, while two stations in new locations would better serve the city as a whole. Cannon also tried to counter arguments that a quick decision is being made, as the city's elected officials have been debating whether to move and/or build fire stations for more than a decade.
"It's not something we just did yesterday," Cannon said. "There's lots of study and facts behind it. Don't get hoodwinked into thinking nothing has been done."
Cannon voted with Robert Banger, Jr., John D'Astice and Tim Veenbaas for the land purchase. Mayor Len Prejna, who campaigned on a platform of only replacing Station 15, has so far not indicated whether he intends to issue a veto.
As architectural drawings are still being completed, the earliest construction could begin to replace Station 15 is next spring, with completion 18 months later.