Council: More study on specific targeted uses of vacant fire station

August 24, 2005
Santa Paula City Council

Oh, if there could only be as much conversation inside the vacant former fire station as there is surrounding it.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesOh, if there could only be as much conversation inside the vacant former fire station as there is surrounding it. The City Council again tackled the issue of what to do with the building, located at the corner of 8th and Santa Barbara Streets, at a July meeting, showing their impatience on the building’s future.The building has belonged to the city since the mid-1990s after Ventura County started demolition proceedings. Although the two-story brick masonry building has been seismically retrofitted, the interior remains unfinished.Mayor Mary Ann Krause noted that “One of the uses we talked about in the past, but threw out, was a teen center. I don’t know if it’s the right location or not, but the building is centrally located... I would like to see staff do an evaluation for that purpose.”Although not as large as the city would prefer for a teen center, the building has two stories that would offer different activities on each floor. Krause added that there has also been preliminary discussion on turning the building into a fire and police museum or - considering its proximity to the proposed bike trial - even a bicycle rental shop.Building and Safety Director Steve Stuart said that it would cost probably about $500,000 to construct an elevator. Another concern is that the building is historic, the first one in the county built in the 1930s by a government public works program.
“Is it a county landmark?” asked Krause.“Not a landmark, just a notable building” that perhaps could receive official recognition, said Stuart.Councilman Ray Luna said he would prefer a fire museum but would support Vice Mayor Rick Cook’s interest in a police museum, but perhaps not a teen center. “If the city is so concerned with tourism” and tourist revenues, a museum would be “another attraction in the city,” noted Luna.The city’s citywide Visioning called for a teen center, but Krause said she has been frustrated that the school districts have not wanted to pursue same with the city. “We do need to do something for kids,” but the city’s and the school districts’ tight budgets are problematic. “It’s going to take a lot more than just having a building to have a teen center.”The council asked that more specific information on potential uses be included in a future staff report.

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