City Council: Keep former fire station and study future use

July 23, 2004
Santa Paula City Council

The former county fire station will remain city property until the City Council decides what its eventual use should be.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe former county fire station will remain city property until the City Council decides what its eventual use should be.The council decided to continue to fix up and explore uses for the building, constructed in 1934 on land donated by the McKevett Corporation, at the July 12 meeting.Building construction was financed by the Civil Works Administration, an early Depression-era employment program and the station remained in operation until 1957.City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that staff researched the building since it came into the city’s possession about a decade ago.“If you do wish to hold onto the property,” a report on possible uses could be prepared, including input from the Visioning Committee.“Perhaps it would be prudent to step back and let these other shoes drop,” or staff could investigate a sale, Bobkiewicz noted.“I would like to give an argument in keeping the property. . .it would be nice if we had another museum in the city,” said Councilman Ray Luna. “Every time we open the newspaper or see television news we hear about firefighters,” said the retired City of Ventura fireman.
Phoenix has a museum of water mains and Wyoming is home to a former fire station that is converted to a fire station theme restaurant, Luna added.“Did the downtown improvement plan mention anything about that building?” asked Vice Mayor Mary Ann Krause.The plan does not include the building, located at the corner of 8th and Santa Barbara streets, but the Visioning Plan calls for a teen center close to the downtown, said Bobkiewicz.“My open is after viewing all the materials is that we should hand on to it,” said Krause. “It’s not a super priority,” but the building’s location near the Railroad Corridor is on the proposed bicycle path as well as just a block from downtown.Krause agreed that the building could house a museum and asked that financing sources be explored to finish rehabilitation.“I have no problem with keeping it as long as we don’t spend money on it,” other than grant funding, said Councilman Rick Cook.Cook, a retired SPPD sergeant, suggested that the building could even become a police museum. “The council members before us wanted to keep the Tower Theater,” which remains vacant, and “I’m against putting any money in that [the former fire station] until we sell the theater. Don’t sell it yet but don’t spend any money on it.”“We’ll hold onto the property and look into further uses,” while staff investigates grand funding to complete the rehabilitation, said Mayor Gabino Aguirre.

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