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Groundbreaking marks start of new fire station construction for Edwardsville

Rendering of Edwardsville’s planned new East Fire Station, slated to open in Nov. 2023 (Courtesy City of Edwardsville)

A groundbreaking was held Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, to kick off construction of the East Fire Station, a facility that will help the City of Edwardsville fulfill its long-term plan to ensure far-reaching, efficient emergency medical and fire services for its growing population.

The East Fire Station is being built on two acres of land at 7407 Governors Parkway, near the City’s Interstate 55 corridor, an area that has seen tremendous residential and commercial growth.

Mayor Art Risavy was joined at the event by aldermen, Chief James Whiteford and Fire Department staff, other City officials and area business representatives involved in the planning and construction of the facility.

Even though site work and construction have only recently begun, the mayor and Whiteford both noted that the plan to build a new fire station dates back more than a decade, and had the full support of multiple mayors, City Councils, fire chiefs and others.

“I know that everyone involved recognizes the significance of the East Fire Station to the City, to its residents, its businesses and its visitors,” the mayor said.

The $5.1 million East Fire Station, being built by Morrissey Construction, is expected to open in November 2023. It will include 8,400 square feet of space, environmentally smart features such as solar panels to offset electricity costs, and three double bays to house multiple trucks and ambulances.

The facility will continue a three-station strategy for the Edwardsville Fire Department. The City’s other two stations include the Public Safety Building at 333 S. Main Street, which opened in 2017 and serves as the police and fire headquarters; and the Campus Fire Station, 783 Northwest University Drive, which opened in 2016 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The East Fire Station will replace Station 2 on Montclaire Avenue, a smaller facility built in 1969 that lacks the needed infrastructure for evolving high-tech emergency response capabilities.

The location of the new station came about as part of a 2015 service area study that considered response times, projected population growth and density, and expected future development. For years, the City has been shifting rapidly from its former north-south orientation to east-west growth, Whiteford said, and the City’s three stations will be strategically positioned to efficiently serve that entire area.

The Bank of Madison County, a division of the Bank of Belleville, partnered with the City to issue $6.87 million in general obligation bonds covering the cost of the facility, a new aerial ladder firetruck and improvements to the Campus Fire Station. The bonds are to be paid over 20 years through the quarter-cent public safety sales tax authorized in 2014 to support the City’s police and fire services.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story also appears in the December 2022 print edition of the Illinois Business Journal.)

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