Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Lockport Township Fire Protection District officials are trying to convince residents that it’s time to replace a 57-year-old fire station near the city’s downtown.

“We are limited in height and cannot place many of our vehicles into this station,” wrote Fire Chief David Skoryi in a letter last month to surrounding residents. “… Fire department operations have changed significantly since 1960.”

He estimates costs to be about $3.5 million for a new building at 828 E. Ninth St., the site of the aging station.

A local activist said: “There are quite a few residents that are fed up with the spending of the fire district.” He and a group of other residents in the past have publicly objected to other building and spending projects in the township.

Some residents are even looking to disconnect from the district because its property taxes are second only to the school district.

Skoryi contends in his letter that the public expects firefighters and paramedics to respond to an increasingly broader array of emergencies … and that fire engines today are larger and carry much more equipment than they did in the 1960s so firefighters can respond to more than just fires.

The current building was built during a time when firefighters were volunteers and ambulance service was provided by the local funeral home, and has become inadequate for current firefighting operations. The district employs about 90 people and serves a population of 77,000 people.

The old Station 1 building, one of six stations in the district, is centrally located in Lockport and does not include separate private spaces for female firefighters. The district currently employs four female firefighters. It also contains asbestos as insulation which have to be carefully removed as part of the project because it can cause health problems.

The project will be presented at the Lockport Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the downtown City Hall.