Does Mundelein need a new fire station? Independent study to examine issue
Mundelein officials have commissioned an independent study of fire department activity to assess whether additional fire stations might be needed.
The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association will look at types of emergency calls, traffic conditions, response times, likely future development and other factors to determine if a proposed third station is needed.
The group also will advise if land being eyed on the University of St. Mary of the Lake campus would be an appropriate location for a station.
The group will opine if a west-side station may be warranted in the future, too -- and if so, suggest where it should be built.
Trustee Ray Semple, who leads the village's public safety committee, said the study will help ensure residents east of the railroad tracks have proper fire department coverage.
The study also will be good for long-range village planning, Semple said, especially if officials ever decide to build a station on the west side because of continued expansion in that area.
"No new station is imminent, but this is the first step," Semple said.
Both of the village's fire stations are west of the train tracks. The main station is on the village's north side at 1000 N. Midlothian Road, north of Route 176. A satellite station is on the south side at 1300 S. Lake St., near Hickory Street.
Train traffic on the Canadian National Railroad results in frequent road closures at the tracks, which can affect response times to emergencies on the east side of town.
Fire stations should strategically be built near the residents they serve because response times are so critical, Semple said.
Mundelein hasn't had a fire station east of the railroad tracks in decades.
In July 2018, the village board on Monday approved a letter of intent to lease land on the University of St. Mary of the Lake campus for a third fire station. The letter didn't commit the village to a lease or to building a new station.
The study will cost the village nearly $15,000. The village board approved the proposal last week.
The information from the study could be used to encourage a developer to donate land to the village for a new station. Such a gift led to the construction of the main station, which opened in 2000.
The study also could help village officials determine impact fees that would be assessed to developers to help pay for fire service to any new homes, Semple said.
"Having the data enables us to better plan for the future," Semple said.