Foundation seeks donations for new Mt. Morris fire station


MOUNT MORRIS – Mt. Morris Fire Foundation is seeking to raise $2 million toward the cost of a new fire station for the town of just over 3,000. 

Due to inflation, the estimated cost of a new building is $4.5 million, and the nonprofit foundation, along with the fire district staff, is asking for the public's assistance to avoid increasing taxes.

The current Mt. Morris firehouse is nearly 100 years old. Built as a car dealership and service station when Model T's filled the streets, the station has been modified over the years to remain functional. However, with low ceilings, narrow overhead doors, porous brick and close proximity to the street, among other issues, the foundation board and fire department staff know that the best option is to pursue a new building.

"Our firehouse has served its useful life," said Fire Chief Rob Hough. "Our commitment to life-saving work has not wavered, and the staff continues to serve the community despite the indisputably difficult and unsafe environment from which they operate. The new firehouse will allow us to operate in a safe and responsive manner into the foreseeable future."

The cost of the new building reflects fiscal prudence and is in line with stations in similar-sized communities in northwest Illinois. The initial projected cost is $4.5 million, and the district is not seeking to increase taxes in any way. Instead, besides charitable donations, the district is pursuing state and federal grants, and local, state and federal low-interest loans.

"It will be a modest, sensible structure keeping with the aesthetics of the downtown," said Scott Diehl, Fire District Board of Trustees president. "It will afford the district much-needed space with a little room to grow. It is designed to address the inefficiencies of the current building and provide a modern safe environment for our staff."

The Mt. Morris Fire Protection District serves a 45-square-mile area surrounding the town, responding to nearly 1,100 emergency calls for service annually. The district employs a fire chief and six EMT/paramedics, and relies on the dedication of 20 volunteers. Since 2000, due to a drastic increase in medical calls, the fire station has been staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with onsite paramedics.

Donations may be mailed to Mt. Morris Fire Foundation, 15 E. Center St., Mt. Morris, IL 61054. To learn more about the foundation's mission and to donate online, visit mtmorrisfirefoundation.com.

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