New Sycamore fire station up for City Council vote

Sycamore officials are mulling over what can be done about Sycamore Fire Station 1, a 66-year-old building that Sycamore Fire Chief Bart Gilmore said has a myriad of issues on June 9, 2023.

SYCAMORE – After spending months mulling over what to do about the city’s 66-year-old Fire Station 1 building, Sycamore City Council could authorize an architect agreement for a new fire station on Monday.

Sycamore Fire Chief Bart Gilmore has told council members Sycamore Fire Station No. 1 at 535 DeKalb Avenue in Sycamore is not compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, contains asbestos and is heated by a boiler as old as the building.

During a May 15 Sycamore City Council meeting, Kluber Architects told city officials they estimate it would cost between $12.7 million and $15 million to renovate the fire station, or $11.4 million to $13.6 million to build a new station elsewhere.

Some council members – including Ward 2 Alderperson Chuck Stowe, Ward 3 Alderperson Nancy Copple and Ward 4 Alderperson Virginia Sherrod – indicated during a June 5 meeting they’d prefer to spend city funds on a new facility, instead of renovating the current station.

Not everyone, however, is convinced constructing a new building away from downtown is a wise decision – including Ted Strack, the Sycamore Park District Board representative on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“That’s a lot of money,” Strack said of the new building’s estimated cost during the Aug. 7 City Council meeting. “I’m sure that some residents would see an improvement in their response times, there’s other’s that would see a determent in their response times – primarily those in the center of town here.”

The resolution before Sycamore City Council at 6 p.m. Monday would authorize City Manager Michael Hall to enter the city into an agreement with Oak Brook-based FGM Architects for the preliminary design and concept plan of a new Fire Station No. 1.

According to the agreement, the city would pay the firm $86,920 for the preliminary design and concept plan of the new fire station, general background and project kickoff and some reimbursable expenses.

“Is the building perfect? Absolutely not. Does it basically service it’s purpose? Yes it does,” Strack said. “Again, you’re looking to spend a lot of money. One of the things that I might suggest to you as a group is that you ask the citizens what they want, because it’s the citizens’ money, it’s not the city’s money, it’s the citizens’.”

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