Excerpts from rrstar.com:

A $300,000 donation to the North Park Fire Protection District will serve as the financial foundation for a new centrally located fire station the district has wanted for about 20 years. An anonymous donor provided the gift last year. The money was used to purchase an acre of land at 1017 Harlem Road from the village and to pay for engineering and architectural work. The land cost about $25,000. The district purchased a second acre next to the first in September. Chief Joel Hallstrom hopes to build a $3.5 million fire station on those two acres in the next decade.

The district started planning for a new station about two decades ago as it watched the community and coverage area change, leaving its decades-old stations in locations not as ideal as they once were and perhaps adding vital seconds and minutes to their response times.

The Machesney Park board of trustees unanimously voted to approve a special-use permit for the fire station to go up in a neighborhood of homes and small businesses.

The North Park Fire Protection District has three fire stations and all are decades old. Stations at 2191 Harlem Road in Loves Park and 3924 N. Alpine Road in Rockford were built in the late 1940s. The newest one — 600 Wood Ave. in Machesney Park — was built in the 1960s. Because of annexations, the stations aren’t considered as centrally located as they once were.

About 50 volunteer firefighters protect nearly 20,000 residents within a 15-square-mile coverage area in portions of Machesney Park and unincorporated Winnebago County. Hallstrom said a new station would mean the closing of at least two other stations and the administrative offices on Ramona Terrace.

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