Pingree Grove approves land deal for fire station
By Ryan Klassy For The Courier-News June 5, 2012 1:12PM
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:42AM
PINGREE GROVE — An agreement approved by village trustees will transfer 1.5 acres of land to the Pingree Grove and Countryside Fire Protection District, which covers Pingree Grove and portions of Hampshire and Elgin.
The district plans to build a new fire station on the parcel, located on the west side of Reinking Road just north of Route 72, in the Cambridge Lakes North development. The move will allow for facility upgrades and a station closer to the village’s population center.
According to village attorney Dean Frieders, the district also has negotiated the purchase of an adjoining 1.5 acres from developer Cambridge Homes.
For years, the district has operated from a station next door to the Pingree Grove Village Hall on Reinking Road. But that site does not have adequate crew bunking facilities to be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which the district and village have determined is a significant need.
The district currently uses temporary trailers to house fire department personnel next to the downtown station and staffs a full-time station on Plank Road in Elgin.
“The village has worked with the district over the years with respect to the location of the fire station site, and it has been proposed at numerous locations from time to time,” Frieders said.
He added that trains on the east-west line that runs through town can impede response to fires in areas within the village’s geographic and population center.
Frieders noted, “The district has long desired to have a station located north of the railroad tracks.”
Under the terms of the original agreement, Cambridge was to donate the site directly to the village in lieu of fire and public safety impact fees. The village would then impose certain restrictions on its use before transferring ownership to the district.
Frieders said negotiations have been underway for several months to reach the terms of a new agreement, which allows Cambridge to give the land directly to the district.
The deal states that the land must be used for a new fire station and prohibits several uses, including a burn tower and hazardous material collection site.
The village also gets the first right of refusal to buy the downtown location at its appraised value if it goes up for sale. Pingree Grove would have first dibs on the new site, too, should the district decide not to build, or pulls up stakes in the future.
Another plus for the village is that the district will donate the site of the existing lift station for the village’s Heritage District wastewater system. Currently, the village has an easement for that site.
Lastly, the agreement allows the village to bill for domestic water consumption by staff at the new station. That excludes water used for fire prevention.