Work has stopped on Auburn’s renovated fire department project, but hopefully it will begin again soon, said mayor Mike Hughes. The $685,000 dollar project began earlier this year with a renovation of the old Howlett Chevrolet building located on Main Street. The architect, according to Hughes, has instructed historic preservation to revue the proposed exterior of the building. Jill Smith of Civic Consultants out of Louisville is serving as lead architect.
“There has been a little hold up in the project concerning the outside of the structure,” Hughes states. “It’s nothing that will stop the project, we just have to wait on the architect.”
Replacing the roof just wrapped up, which was a large part of the project, and the first phase of a multi-phase renovation.
“The recent stall has pushed the project about two months behind schedule, said mayor Hughes. “I had anticipated going into the second phase by now, but there are hoops that have to be jumped over with a project of this size.”
The second phase will consist of the facade, fire bay and bathrooms.
“We know we will not have enough funds to complete all phases of the project at this time, but we do expect to be in a functioning new fire department before we run out of money,”said Hughes adding, the city would apply for future grants to complete the additional phases. “It’s going to be a work in progress.”
The City of Auburn received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the state’s Department for Local Government in February. The city itself put in $185,000 to the project.
“The fire department and it’s fireman are looking froward to the move,” Hughes said. “We are having to be a little patient as the project may take a little time, but the end goal will be the same.”
The facade will require some patching of brink work, but other than windows and doors and a little metal, the city wants to keep and protect the historic integrity of the facade. The portion of structure that is rounded was built in 1938, said Hughes. The exterior of the building is regulated by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and anything that is done to the outside of the structure has to be approved by this organization, because part of the building is listed on the National Historic Register.
The reason for a new station, which the city and rural departments will share, is no room. There is no room at the current fire station which was built 50 years ago and is located on the square in Auburn. There is not adequate parking for firefighters and maneuvering the trucks around the square proves to be a task that takes to long. A new station would mean better maneuverability.
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