New Fire Station 42 Construction Project Finds Flooding Solution

135 McHenry Rd. facing west. (Village of Wheeling/Photo)

Plans for the new Wheeling Fire Station 42 were discussed further at the Wheeling Village Board meeting Monday, Aug. 1. One issue concerning the new Station 42 site is that it is located in a floodplain, an issue village officials would want to solve before construction bidding.

Station 42 construction proposals were approved at the July 18 Wheeling Village Board meeting. These approvals, however, still came with the floodplain concerns and the need to ensure Station 42 avoids future flood problems for its new location at 135 McHenry Rd.

“One consideration of any new development is ensuring the subject site includes adequate stormwater detention in order to mitigate potential future flooding concerns,” Wheeling Director of Public Works Daniel Kaup said. “The Station 42 site is located directly adjacent to Buffalo Creek, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulatory flood zone encroaches well into this property. As such, the proposed Fire Station will need to be elevated out of the flood zone according to the village’s floodplain ordinance.”

Based on this, according to public works, Station 42 requires 1.59 acre-feet of “compensatory storage credits” from Heritage Lake. FEMA states this is to offset any loss of flood storage capacity.

In the case of Station 42, initial concerns revolved around the limited amount of space at the proposed location on McHenry Road, prompting Wheeling officials to create ordinances limiting the amount of parking, greenery, and driving space within the area.

“You need a certain amount of land for each part of the fire station,” Kaup said. “Storage credits allow us to fully utilize the space we need for the fire station.”

Station 42 is proposed to be located on 10,700 sq. ft., surrounded by commercial properties, a residential area and ComEd transmission lines. This led to a proposed special use permit, keeping in mind the impact on neighboring entities not to affect public health, safety and general welfare.

With the new floodplain solutions, Station 42 was approved to receive 1.266 acre-feet of fill to elevate the building out of the flood zone.

Budgets for these additional solutions were not a huge concern, as the village board is looking to maintain financial strength for a project budgeted at $5 million. “While this item does not carry a monetary cost, the use of these credits is worthy of note,” Kaup said.

Overall, the new Station 42 is awaiting construction bidding, which according to the village, could be fully approved as early as the end of summer.

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