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Palatine Village Hall Remodel Won't Include Fire Station

Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz split a tie vote on a motion to incorporate a fire station into the village hall remodel, voting down the recommendation. The village will now look for an alternative location.

Wold Architects' design concept for the remodeled Palatine Village Hall. Credit: Village of Palatine
Wold Architects' design concept for the remodeled Palatine Village Hall. Credit: Village of Palatine
Plans for the $12.8 million renovation of the Palatine Village Hall progressed this week as council members voted 6 to 1 Monday to accept the design concept and green light the negotiation of related contracts for development services.

A controversial second component of the village hall remodel, a recommendation to include Fire Station 85, which is currently located on Colfax Street, was met with opposition from council members and residents alike.

Concerns raised about adding the fire station to the village hall included traffic congestion and pedestrian traffic from the park district, elementary school and Cutting Hall. The residential area is too busy to incorporate the maneuvering of large fire vehicles, said some residents.

Not logical

"No one puts a fire station on a side street. It's not logical," said a resident Another resident said he thought the whole plan was a bad idea, and suggested a new village hall and fire station be built downtown to aid in much-needed revitalization.

Brad Helms, the sole council member to vote against approving preliminary redesign plans for village hall, also disapproved of the recommendation to add the fire station.

"I don't see too many communities building fire stations on residential streets. We're talking a two-lane residential street that will be difficult to navigate. I'm telling you right now it's not a good idea," said Helms.

Council members Jim Clegg and Kollin Kozlowski disagreed, saying they didn't think it would be a safety issue given the experience fire and rescue crews have with handling traffic congestion. Points were also made that first responders would be closer to Sanborn School and the park district.

Helms asked Fire Chief Scott Anderson what his choice would be—stay where they're at, move to village hall, or a third option, whatever that might be.

If there was a third option, said Anderson, "I would certainly choose it."

When questioned further, Anderson said he'd prefer a new station be built near the Colfax location but that he also did not believe a move to village hall would negatively impact response times.

Mayor splits tie vote

When it came time for a vote on whether to proceed with plans to incorporate the fire station into village hall remodel plans, the council was split.

Jim Clegg, Brad Helms and Tim Millar voted against the inclusion of the fire station, while Kollin Kozlowski, Scott Lamerand and Greg Solberg voted in favor of it. The tie was broken by Mayor Jim Schwantz, who voted no.

Some fire department offices will still be included in the village hall remodel, and there would be space for living quarters and equipment bays if the council determines village hall is the best place for the station.

In the meantime, the council directed village staff to conduct a comprehensive search for a new fire station site.

Click here to watch the video of Monday's meeting.

Tell Us: Where do you think the fire station should locate? Should a new village hall be built downtown? Share your thoughts in the comments.
HOWARD PETTINGER December 04, 2013 at 12:44 PM
GOOD VOTE BY THE MAYOR. YOU HAVE ENOUGH CONGESTION AT VILLAGE HALL NOW. NO FIRE STATION DOESN'T NEED TO BE BUILT DOWNTOWN. THAT'S NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE IN THE REVITALIZATION OF THE AREA. WHAT /WHO ARE INTERESTED IN GOING TO A FIRE HOUSE. YOU NEED ATTRACTIONS TO DRAW PEOPLE. FOOD, ? DTORES? NOT A FIRE HOUSE.
Craig Doherty December 06, 2013 at 02:12 PM
FIRE HOUSES DRAW PEOPLE...or was that houses on fire that draw people? HOWARD, wHeRe WoUlD yOu PuT tHe FoOd AnD dToReS, iN vIlLaGe HaLl? In the residential neighborhood that already has enough congestion? On Northwest Highway, which is full of dtores and food?
Timothy White December 08, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Why is that people consider that having a firehouse = more congestion? It's not like there is a constant stream of engine/truck traffic going in and out every 5 minutes. Yet communities incorporate the PD with the village hall, which generally increases the amount of traffic in the area with squad cars constantly going in/out, as well an resident and non-resident traffic. 2nd, a fire station move or remodel is about public safety and providing better space/equipment for first responders. not about providing or adding to any type of 'revitalization'. 3rd, for the one resident who stated "No one puts a fire station on a side street. It's not logical" has obviously never been out of the suburbs. Let me take you through Chicago, where about 20% of the fire houses are still on residential streets, including the one behind Wrigley Field and the one used on the TV show Chicago Fire.
Jack Williams December 19, 2013 at 11:58 PM
I think a village hall downtown would be a nice placement for a downtown area that desperately needs something to be the face of Palatine. I would suggest completely redesigning all of downtown, widening the streets and putting more areas for shopping, housing, food, and entertainment. Dirty Nellies is a perfect start to recreating the downtown area. As for a fire station, I think the current location is fine, but perhaps the station could be rebuilt. The new station looks beautiful, maybe another in the same design.
Scott December 26, 2013 at 04:34 PM
I go to the village hall *maybe* once a year. Unless you're a contractor who goes there often? How does the village hall being downtown help the downtown? And where is there space for it?

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