Update Tuesday:

The Urbana City Council Monday night, with no discussion, unanimously approved the plan to buy land for the new fire station.

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Original story Monday:

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Some Urbana firefighters would be out of a cramped, old building in a couple years if the city council goes along with a plan to build a new fire station.

The project revolves around Fire Station Two at 2103 South Philo Road. The initial plan involved expanding the station using open space immediately south at 2201 South Philo Road. The city purchased that land in 2017, giving it a footprint of one-half acre to work with.

But now, officials are pivoting to a plan to build a new station across the street. “Additional flexibility is sought in terms of the design of the replacement of the fire station, as well as the size and additional facilities that might be included,” said City Administrator Carol Mitten in a memo to council. “Therefore, the City recommends purchasing the larger parcel at 1501 East Mumford Drive,” for $905,000.

An overhead map of the planned location of an Urbana fire station
An overhead image of the current location for Urbana Fire Station Two (left) and the proposed location (right). Photo via the City of Urbana.

The Mumford Drive space is 5.53 acres and is farmed by Sola Gratia, a local non-profit. The plan would see Sola Gratia farm the land during the 2022 growing season, then the group would move elsewhere and the city would step in to begin construction. This plan also allows the current station two to stay up-and-running during construction, which could finish by the end of 2023, according to Mayor Diane Marlin.

“It is unlikely that the fire station project will require the full 5.53-acre site,” Mitten said. “There will a separate decision point for the future use of any excess land that is part of the subject site, as well as the eventual disposition of the parcel on which the current station is built (and the adjacent property).”

The city council will vote on the land purchase at a virtual meeting Monday at 7 p.m.