This weekend residents got the chance to tour the Rockford Fire Departments new station on the city's southwest side. Firefighters say the hope behind the move is quicker response times.
"Over the past couple of years we've done an in-depth analysis and this is one area that needed a better response," said Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten. "Further south and west of the city."
Station #3 is currently located in a commercial area on South Main Street. But the widening of that road took away needed space for firefighters and their equipment. It was difficult for fire trucks to maneuver in and out of the building.
"Station #3 was in horrible condition and once the construction took away a large part of the apron we had to rebuild it," said 5th Ward Alderman Venita Hervey.
Over the weekend, fighterfighters hosted an open house for the new station on Marchesano Drive. It's been nearly 30 years since the department built one from the ground up.
"Everybody had to take a deep breath but it was something that we had to do," Hervey said.
Joined by the mayor and several other city leaders, Hervey cut a ribbon to welcome the newly constructed station. Hervey says this station is a great way to redevelop the area.
"To be able to use what used to be a very blighted area that happened to fit perfectly, it moves us a little further south which is where we want it to be for coverage areas but it gives us a bigger area, better access and room to grow," Hervey said.
The station, now located in a residential area, gives community members a better sense of safety.
"I think of it being much safer because it's closure to me and being a senior if I should fall and can't get up they'll be right there," said Gwen Jackson who lives only a couple blocks from the new station.
Station #3 hopes to be moved into the new facility in two and a half weeks.