Janesville74.7°

Edgerton Fire District mulls move

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
June 22, 2010
— As Edgerton Fire District considers whether to move its fire station to a vacant building on the city’s north side, city officials have asked for more information on the possible plan.

Monday, the city’s public safety committee asked Edgerton Fire Chief Brian Demrow to brief the city on the possible move, which could put the station at the former Large Digital Format building at 111 interstate Blvd., in the city’s north-end business park.


The fire district, an entity separate from the city, plans to unveil a study at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 1, at the fire station, 621 N. Main St.


The study will show costs for buying and retrofitting the privately owned 15,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant since March. The study also will provide information on how the move could impact fire and emergency response times.


The north side business park is about a mile north of the current fire station.


Early estimates provided by the fire department showed the move and retrofitting the building could cost about $1 million, compared to a $550,000 plan to add on to the existing fire station.


Monday, Demrow told the public safety committee that details of the study on the possible move were unavailable. He also the fire district isn’t packing its boxes yet, and that it’s unlikely the district will move forward with plans on a move anytime soon.


“We’re being prudent. We’re making sure all the bases are covered,” Demrow said Monday, adding he felt like he’d been “called to the principal’s office.”


The fire district board has the authority to decide whether relocating the fire station would be feasible from a financial or public safety standpoint. The city has no direct authority in the decision.


Edgerton Mayor Chris Lund, who is an emergency responder for the fire district, was at the meeting Monday. He said he asked the public safety committee to call the meeting after citizens called him with concerns that moving the station could increase response times to parts of the city.


“If it’s going to hurt response time, I can’t see (the move) being a benefit to anybody,” Lund said.


Demrow had said earlier that moving the fire station to the business park would increase response times for people on the southern end of the city and coverage area, but would improve responses to I-90/39.


Lund said he’s also concerned the city would lose at least $27,000 in property taxes annually if the vacant business district building became a tax-exempt fire station.


“It would be much better off to be kept as a private building for industry, where it would create tax-paying jobs instead of taxpayer supported jobs,” Lund said.



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