New Fire Station Plans Moving Forward in Normal

Published 07/07 2014 09:16PM

Updated 07/07 2014 10:20PM

NORMAL - The Town of Normal took a big step forward Monday in its plan to redo its entire fire station operation.

Council approved an architectural firm that will start drawing up plans for three new stations. Now, the town is working on a trade that will set the rest of the plan in motion.

"Fire trucks have gotten bigger,” said chief Mick Humer. “The apparatus has gotten bigger. We just have more people on duty than we had in 1976."

Town council’s decision on Monday night makes the end appear nearer for Fire Station No. 2.

"We don't want to hold up the process with delaying designs. We want to move forward with the initial design steps, which include schematic design and programming design,” said Pamela Reece, deputy city manager for the Town of Normal.

The goal is to move Normal's central hub closer to the middle of Illinois State University's campus.

"The majority of the calls comes from that area,” explained Humer. “Not that there's not other calls from throughout the community and everything like that, but as far as actual calls, it's a big hotspot for us."

If ISU agrees to a land swap for the new station, the town would consider other logistics.

"We'll have to go vertical as opposed to horizontal with some of our uses, and so potentially, it could be a tight site, which also impacts the construction costs,” said Reece.

Humer says each additional step would be about improving efficiency.

The response times in Station 2 and headquarters area are actually very, very good and very comparable. But when we run into problems is east of Veterans Parkway,” said Humer.

Right now, the response times to areas like right here by Normal Community are in the nine and a half minute range. Humer says realignment could help drop those numbers below six minutes.

"It's probably quicker as the crow flies from Station 3, but the way the roads are set up, it's quicker to respond from the Headquarters Station,” said Humer.

By September, Normal council will bring those design plans to council, with the goal to break ground shortly after.

If all goes according to plan, work on fire station number two could begin as early as next year. Initial estimates for that facility are around $7 million.

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