City plans to build fire house on West Mound Road

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DECATUR, Ill (WAND) - The City of Decatur is planning to build a new fire house at 350 West Mound Road. The City Manager, Tim Gleason, tells WAND News the new facility is part of the "fire facility project," in efforts to replace and relocate stations.

The project is part of two phases. He says, "Phase 1 was the repair and improvements to a couple of the fire stations, and there were some that fell under category that it would have been a bad investment to just repair." Phase 2 is the plan to relocate Fire Station 5 from near Brettwood Village further north to the northeast corner of West Mound Road and Greenridge Drive, which after a study was done, was found to be a bad investment.

 Currently, a home sits in this location, which neighbors say the owner died in the Spring of 2017. Gleason says the city has been in contact with the people who now own the property or handle the estate and says an opportunity was presented. 

The decision to build on West Mound road was driven by the best coverage location, where firefighters could access the most areas quickly. Gleason referenced the growing community and response challenges Station 5 has had as some reasons to relocate.

In order for the firehouse to be a reality, the city has to follow several steps. The first step is a notice to the public of the city's intentions. On Wednesday, October 11th,  the city is holding a public meeting at Mound Chapel Church from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Fire Chief Jeff Abbott and Assistant City Manager, Billy Tyus, will be there to present and answer any questions for residents.

The second step of the process is to present the plan to the planning commission, which Gleason says would be around the first week of November. The final step would be for Decatur City Council to approve the build since it would require a zoning change.

However, without the public's approval, the relocation project could be at a standstill. Residents in the proposed location have some mixed feelings on the project. Tom Kidd says, "We're a little concerned because of where they're stationing it at because the target is there, and we've had an apartment complex there. We're wondering about the traffic, and we've had some accidents happen in the area recently, so we're just a little concerned about that." He added that it would make him and his family feel safer having the fire station close by.

Gleason says the entire project, Phase 1 and 2, costs around $8 million to $10 million. This money comes from an increased property tax that was approved in December 2016 for the 2017 fiscal year.

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