New Westminster fire station will include social hall, museum and bays for 7 vehicles Groundbreaking set for spring

February 07, 1997|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A site plan for the new Westminster fire station includes a social hall, a museum, and bays for seven large vehicles -- in a building angled to fit a new downtown location.

Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1 recently met a $1.5 million fund-raising goal for the new fire station, and officials said they hope for a spring groundbreaking at the 3.5-acre property at 28 John St., formerly the site of Smith & Reifsnider Lumber and Home Center.

The plan, prepared by Brosso Wilhelm & McWilliams Inc. of Towson and submitted this week to city officials for review, also features a new parking lot.

If a trade between the city and the department is approved, the city would gain 19 public parking spaces and 300 square feet of land, said Thomas B. Beyard, the city's director of planning and public works.

The fire company wants to exchange property with the city because it needs a small slice of land for its entrance to John Street, Beyard said.

Although the site plan would wipe out part of the existing Chapel parking lot and about eight spaces on John Street near the entrance, the fire company proposes to build a new parking lot -- and give some of these spaces to the city, he said.

The new parking lot, at the northeast end of the site, would be named for the late Eugene A. Bauerlein, a city employee and volunteer firefighter.

"So we would come out 19 spaces ahead," Beyard said.

Some extra spaces also will be gained after the Main Street post office closes in July.

"Parking is a continued concern people have had," Beyard said. "There will be at least a short-term improvement."

Fire company officials said they expect to be in the new station by summer 1998.

The 175-year-old volunteer fire company has outgrown its 100-year-old Main Street building, though it had been expanded twice.

The move was prompted by a 100-foot aerial ladder truck that was too long and too tall for the historic station, fire officials said.

The $1.5 million fund-raising campaign was designated for the new station, but estimates of the total cost of the move and construction have run as high as $3.2 million. The land cost $1.8 million.

Max Realty Inc. has an agreement to buy the three-story fire hall, featuring a distinctive clock and bell tower, and probably will renovate it as a retail and office space.

Pub Date: 2/07/97

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