The proposed addition to the city’s Locust fire station 44 at 2nd and Williams Streets has undergone some radical surgery since it was initially revealed last month.
The changes have been prompted by budget restrictions rather than by any adverse comment from some city residents about the bulk of the proposed building, squeezed as it was between its equally-sized neighbors.
The newest model (see drawing this page), while maintaining the same height and width, has shaved the new structure from 3.401 square feet with a 12-foot setback from the sidewalk, to only 1800 square feet, with a 48-foot setback.
This latter dimension is precisely the length required to house a future second fire engine.
The rear yard will also be extended from 10 to 28 feet, leaving approximately 25 feet square for the currently proposed addition. These dimensions, by virtue of the deep setback, may mitigate the previous plan’s contribution to an impression of a massive wall fronting the three lots at the top of Williams Street.
On Monday, the new plan was unveiled at a meeting of the city Boosters and Merchants. Alban Carroll, the Project Architect, backed up by Assistant Fire Chief Hank Embers, presented the architectural drawings, explained the basic elements and tried to answer the many questions and complaints that followed from the floor. There appeared to be little resistance to the shrunken size of the project, especially after Carroll outlined the budgetary shortfall that emerged when the first plan was put out to bid. He also made clear how easily the structure could be expanded — when it became economically feasible.
What caused most concerns among participants in the last meeting was the loss of certain artistic details consistent with the Art Commission’s guidelines for construction of additions to existing Locust buildings: that they are as historically and architecturally compatible with the existing building as possible.
It was revealed that the provision to use “up to two percent” of the budget for “art enrichment” in the original budget had in fact been turned back to the project’s general construction fund.
A number of participants in the meeting also expressed concern that the new proposal did not call for complete replacement of the decorative tiles bordering three sides of the firehouse main door.
Instead, only damaged ones will be replaced. The opposition also greeted the news that the one remaining outside red light — from the wrong architectural period — would not be replaced with two new ones in the traditional style of the original simple red globes, on either side of the door.