ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- For the first time in 25 years a new fire station is being built in Rockford. Some who live near Marchesano and Clifton believe the construction project means more than just a brand new building.
Construction crews are hard at work clearing the way for a new Fire Station 3 on Rockford’s southwest side, just down the street from the current one. Neighbor Joe Adams hopes the project also brings more opportunities.
"We're probably going to start getting more businesses, more restaurants for our needs, more grocery stores for our needs," Adams said.
The new $15,000 square foot building will be across the street from Providence Baptist Church. Pastor Decarto Draper says it brings new hope to the area.
"It will be a great lift for the morale for this neighborhood."
It also means crews will get to us quicker during emergencies. Chief Derek Bergsten says this is the first time the department has used data to determine the best location for a station. He estimates a 30 second improvement in response times.
"The layout of the station is designed for fire calls and a lot of the safety features are just going to make it a lot better experience for the individuals working there," Chief Bergsten said.
Pull through garages mean the fire trucks can get in and out of the station faster and easier than they currently do at the cramped station on south Main Street. Fire fighters say they can't wait to get to know their new neighbors.
"That’s what we're really looking for is to be engaged in the neighborhood here and taking part in the great development that’s happening in southwest Rockford," Chief Bergsten said.
"This will be much better for them, for the area, from the pictures it’s going to be beautiful, it’s going to be really nice," Adams said.
Chief Bergsten says six to seven fire fighters will staff the station. They'll each have their own bedroom and there will be men’s and women’s restrooms, perks the more than 50 year old Fire Station 3 doesn't have.
The city took out about five million dollars in loans to pay for the station. Construction should be done in March.