East Dundee Fire Protection District breaks ground on long-awaited new fire station site

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EAST DUNDEE — Mark Guth was 13 years old when the fire station was built on Third Street in downtown East Dundee six decades ago. At the time, his father was on the fire department staff. Guth, 75, is retired from the fire department and is now president of the East Dundee Fire Protection District Board of Trustees.

On Tuesday, the East Dundee resident joined other trustees, village and fire staff, and community members to break ground on the fire district’s new station. “I’m kind of excited,” he said. “It’s nice to watch another one go up.”

“Today’s the day, finally,” said Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf. “It’s very exciting. It’s something that’s been a dream for a long time.” A $5.5 million referendum passed by taxpayers in November made possible the new fire station, which will be located near Routes 25 and 72. Fire officials said that area is more centrally located to serve their entire district, which extends as far east as Higgins Road and Interstate 90.

The land the new fire station will be built on is owned by the village. Fire and village officials agreed to swap the land for the current fire department building on Third Street. To make the exchange more equitable, since the village was receiving three acres of land with a complete building, East Dundee officials said they would donate $100,000 per year to the East Dundee Fire Protection District — a separate taxing body — for the 20-year life of the loan to build the station to offset payment of the bonds.

The move also will mean more room for the East Dundee Police Department, which will expand into the fire department’s old building. Construction is anticipated to take about 10 months. Village President Lael Miller said it’s an exciting time for East Dundee. “And this is such a perfect location for the fire station,” he said. “This is a great win for the entire village.”

Guth said he hopes the building lasts as long as the Third Street location did. “Getting out of the downtown wasn’t bad 50 years ago,” he said. “But today with how big the equipment is, it’s a lot more difficult to get out of those curvy streets. And the response time will be the same. This is going to help (the fire district employees) a lot. It’s going to help everybody.”
The fire district serves the villages of East Dundee, South Barrington and Barrington Hills, and unincorporated Kane and Cook counties.