DYER — Residents had one item on their agenda for the Dyer Town Council Thursday night — move Fire Station 2 somewhere else.
During its recent meeting, the Town Council listened to residents looking for answers about the future of the station, which currently sits at 820 213th St.
The new station will be relocated east along 213th Street in Central Park near the Briar Ridge subdivision.
“The past couple of weeks, I have been stopped by people asking, ‘Do you know what the Town Council has voted to do in your park?’ Every person I have connected with to discuss the new fire station location has the same general response — what a poor choice,” resident Heidi Morgan said. “I am disappointed and angry. … Do what is right for Dyer.”
After years of searching, the Redevelopment Commission, made up of council members, approved plans in February for Dyer Fire Station 2 to be moved to the park.
Dyer Town Manager Tom DeGiulio said the location makes the most sense space- and cost-wise for the town.
The new building will be a six-bay station, providing space and amenities to the fire, police and parks departments.
“There is a lot more going into locating the fire station than just whose backyard or front yard this is going to be in,” DeGiulio said.
DeGiulio said suggestions have been made to keep the new station in its current location, which was considered initially, but that is not a reasonable option for multiple reasons, including the fact that a station will need to stay operational during construction.
“We’re looking for a response time from that station to different parts of the community. That’s why we have exhausted, after two-plus years, different sites. We came back to the original location, which was the park,” he said. “Those are the facts.”
Residents, including Sue Gifford, expressed disappointment in the lack of communication and apprehension by the council with having the new station in the park.
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“I live across from the park. There are many children playing there, and I see them every day, very young children playing there,” Gifford said during the meeting, adding that she received a copy of bond perspectives which states that the 80-acres of Central Park is to “be used as a new town park” and “not a fire station.”
Councilman Steve Kramer presented a footprint of where Fire Station 2 will be built.
As shown on the map, the new building will be placed on the corner of Central Park, roughly 98 feet from 213th Street and 150 feet from the residential homes on the east and 200 feet from homes north.
A barrier will be added along with driveways to segregate the park from the fire station, DeGiulio said.
Kramer said “some of the top, expert engineers” on storm water control have investigated the area and ensured the Town Council that “there will be no negative effects with storm water,” as it will be stored in multiple ponds on the property.
“There are ways to address our concerns. There is not a decision that myself or the other council members would make if we felt we would be endangering anybody,” Kramer said. “Decisions have not been made lightly.”
A petition, which included more than 60 signatures from residents in the area, was presented during the meeting, protesting the location. Gifford said neighbors are not against a new fire station being built, but they are against having it in Central Park.
After about an hour of back-and-forth disputes among the council and residents, Council President Joe Cinko abruptly adjourned the meeting, saying discussion got off topic.
“I am sure we will have continued discussion in reference to this,” Cinko said.
“You guys don’t care about anybody sitting out here. It is all about you,” Gifford said in response to the meeting being ended as residents continued to express concerns. “It’s a monopoly up there. We don’t matter. It’s disgusting.”
Construction on Fire Station 2 is expected to start this year, DeGiulio said.