District 220 to buy land previously pegged for fire station
Barrington Area Unit District 220 plans to spend about $562,800 to acquire land adjacent to a middle school and early learning center. The move comes after a controversial plan for a fire station on the land was rejected by the county.
School board members this week voted in favor of purchasing the roughly 1-acre site with a vacant house at 36 E. Dundee Road in unincorporated Cook County. It is owned by the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.
District 220 plans to use the property to improve parking and traffic flow between the Dundee Road schools. Superintendent Brian Harris said the land has been targeted by the board since at least 2007.
"It will certainly benefit that campus significantly moving forward," Harris said.
In March, Cook County Board commissioners on the zoning and building committee voted 14-0 against granting a special-use permit and zoning variances the fire district needed to build the station between Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus and the early learning center. District 220 leaders and parents objected to the firehouse proposal.
Under the deal set to close June 14, the school system will pay $500,000 for the property and $62,813 for expenses incurred by the fire district for its unsuccessful effort to build the firehouse, documents show.
Fire district officials contended that the planned third station would have improved ambulance response times to parts of Inverness and other eastern and southern sections of the agency's coverage area.
Barrington Countryside Chief James Kreher said Friday the district plans to look for other property because the new station remains necessary.
He said the preference would be to find a site in the Dundee Road corridor or along Barrington Road.
Barrington Countryside spent $500,000 to acquire the property in 2016. Plans had called for the foundation of the house to be used for the new station.
District 220 lodged a formal objection with Cook County before the March rejection, citing traffic concerns and the potential for reduced property values. School officials and teachers said noise from the firehouse could cause problems for the early learning center, where the most fragile children from District 220 are taught.
Barrington resident Keara Ide led an online petition drive against the plan that tallied upward of 830 signatures. Many telephone and email objections were received by District 15 Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison of Elk Grove Village, who represents the area in question.