05/22/06 — Historic Fire Station sold; renovation set

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Historic Fire Station sold; renovation set

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on May 22, 2006 1:49 PM

Before the days when the historic Goldsboro Fire Station sat vacant and dilapidated, it had been a home to local firefighters, then a sales space, and finally, an apartment. But for the past five years, only birds and random wildlife have occupied the structure, which was built in 1939 -- well, until a few weeks ago anyway.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Executive Director Julie Thompson said after more than 300 phone calls of inquiry and interest, the historic station has been sold. The building was purchased by a limited liability corporation called Ladder 39, she said.

Old Goldsboro Fire Department Building

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Goldsboro's historic fire station has been sold to Ladder 39. The corporation plans to restore the 67-year-old building.

"We're very excited about the prospect of having that building restored," Mrs. Thompson said. "It will do a lot for our downtown."

Mrs. Thompson added the new owner plans to restore the station following historical standards set by the U.S. Department of the Interior. By doing so, he will be able to utilize tax credit programs offered by both the state and federal government -- and that's an incentive many historic properties downtown offer potental buyers.

DGDC administrative assistant Valerie Gleason said restoration of the building's exterior and first floor should be completed within the next 10 to 12 months. She added with recent developments in the downtown master plan, the timing is perfect.

"The beautification piece of the project is going to be huge," Mrs. Gleason said. "(The fire station) is an entrance into our downtown."

During a presentation to DGDC board members last month, urban designer Allison Platt said a key ingredient to any downtown is an attractive entrance to the area.

But the sale of the old station is important for other reasons, too, Mrs. Gleason added.

"It's just a great building," she said. "A lot of people have sentimental ties to the station. Especially firemen who have been with the city for a long time."

And the community has shown its love for the facility before, Mrs. Gleason said. Close to a year ago, before the DGDC began marketing the property, the building was condemned by the Inspections Department and scheduled for demolition on March 1.

In response to the news, more than 500 members of the community signed a petition to "Save the Station."

But Ladder 39 made an offer before the petition was needed, Mrs. Gleason said -- and before the demolition could take place.