Rockford Fire wants facilities updated as city deals with budget - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford Fire wants facilities updated as city deals with budget shortfall


The Rockford Fire Department says Station 1 is just one of several that has been around for decades. 

"Some of the buildings are from the '20s and goes through the '50s and '60s," Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten says.  

From old air conditioning systems to a leaking roof and a water system that seems to back up, the department says it's time for some of these facilities to get a face lift. 
One of the key improvements it wants to make is revamping it's layout to make sure the station is all on one level.

"It helps us get to the apparatus quicker and respond and arrive on scene in a more timely manner," Bergsten says. 

But, the City of Rockford says it's facing a $10.2 million shortfall without any capitol improvements like the fire department needs. However, Mayor Tom McNamara says updating some Rockford Fire stations isn't off the table. 

"We have two proposals," McNamara says. "One with capital improvements. One without capitol improvements." 

The one with capitol improvements would cost the city an extra $2 million next year alone. 

"Now it's a game of where can we find the money, where can we cut, where can we become more efficient and where can we grow our revenue," McNamara says. 

At the end of the day, RFD says it's all about providing their crews a suitable environment to work in. 

"they're just old and these stations are occupied 24 hours 7 days a week and the firefighters spend a third of their life here, we just want to be able to provide them clean and safe accommodations," Bergsten says. 

The city has until March 31 to approve a budget.  

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