05/24/05 — Historic station for sale

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Historic station for sale

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 24, 2005 1:51 PM

One of Goldsboro's landmark buildings is for sale, and city officials hope to find a buyer to restore it to its glory days.

The former Goldsboro Fire Station on Ash Street is now available at a cut-rate price, possibly less than $60,000. Many people have called for more information.

But so far the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation has struggled to find interested buyers who could also afford the renovation -- possibly as much as $250,000, although some of that money could be recouped through federal and state tax credits.

Executive Director Julie Thompson compared the old firehouse to the Paramount Theater and the Community Building as landmarks that made Goldsboro residents proud.

"We have suffered losing so many of our other great structures to uncontrollable tragedies that letting this one slip through our hands would be hard to swallow," she said Monday.

The fire station was built as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, one of the many ways President Roosevelt put Americans back to work during the Great Depression. The two-story Art Deco building opened in 1939 and served as the fire department's headquarters until the police/fire complex opened on South Center Street in 1976.

After the city abandoned it, the station was sold to Harvey G. Snipes who used it as the Central Service Motor Co. for several years. The front doors and parts of the side walls were removed, leaving the bays open.

But it has been vacant for some time, only home to pigeons and, when police don't catch them, vagrants. They have left a carpet of beer bottles, discarded auto parts and scattered food wrappers.

Snipes' widow has only recently allowed the downtown group to try to find a buyer. The 12,000-square-foot building was assessed in 2003 with a fair-market value of $58,000.

Putting that building back into use "would make a great statement and a key anchor as the entrance to our historic downtown," Mrs. Thompson said.

And since it is classified as a "significant structure" in a certified local historic district, a portion of the money spent on a qualified restoration would be eligible for state and federal tax credits.

If the city continues to lose historic properties downtown, it could put the Historic District in jeopardy of losing its certification. That would make it much more difficult for property owners to qualify for the tax credits, she said.

Anyone interested in more information may call the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation at 735-4959.