First Deputy Fire Commissioner Charles Burns Jr., Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and Public Building Commission of Chicago Interim Executive Director Kevin Gujral on Monday broke ground for the new Engine Company 63 firehouse, the first of eight new fire stations to be built under Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Neighborhoods Alive 21 program.
The new station, to be built on the north side of East 67th Street between Blackstone and Dorchester avenues, will provide approximately 16,900 square feet of space, officials said. The $9.6 million project will accommodate the most up-to-date firefighting technology, including a modern command center and emergency communications facilities.
“This is a great day for Chicago and this community as we break ground on the first of eight new firehouses planned for the city,” Burns said. “This new facility will provide a safer and more efficient work place for our firefighters and paramedics.” PBC Commissioners Dr. Robert B. Donaldson II and Bishop Arthur Brazier joined Hairston, Burns and Gujral at the event.
The new firehouse design will feature enlarged doorways to house today’s larger emergency vehicles, updated living quarters and a circular driveway to reduce traffic hazards as fire trucks exit on calls, officials said. Construction by UBM Inc., an African-American-owned firm, is expected to take one year. The upgraded station will replace Engine 63’s existing quarters at 1405 East 62nd Place, an 8,900-square-foot building that dates back to 1929.
Mayor Daley, who chairs the PBC, began the Neighborhoods Alive 21 program two years ago as a major investment in Chicago’s infrastructure that includes replacing outdated police and fire stations throughout the city.