(St. Joseph,MO) Monday the city council will decide the fate of two of the city’s former fire houses. The council will vote on donating Fire Station 11 at 2329 S. 18th, and leasing Fire Station 9 at Street 2217 Frederick Avenue to Habitat for Humanity.
"We didn't just want to sell it to the highest bidder and have somebody do a poor job of retrofitting it into a family home. We want to be sure that the finished product is appropriate," Woody said. “We didn’t want to have any problems with utilities not being on or vandalism or things like that that might occur if they were vacant for an extended period of time,”City Manager Bruce Woody said.
Executive Director of the St. Joseph Habitat for Humanity, Cate Manley, said Habitat plans to renovate Fire Station 11 and rent it as a family home.
"We will rehab that into a very nice rental property. We plan to hold on to it as a fundraising avenue for ourselves,"Manley said.
The nonprofit plans to rent the home and use the money to fund other habitat home repairs and builds.
Habitat workers and volunteers will remove the large bay doors from the station to be replaced with windows and brick; remove the front parking area to become a yard and build a small garage for residents. Manley estimates it will take approximately $100,000 to completely remodel the fire station as a luxury rental home.
Manley said she is hoping a partnership with the national Habitat for Humanity and the HGTV program Property Brothers can help bring a little extra funding to the fire house renovations.
"What we are thinking about doing is,because Habitat for Humanity also is a partner on the international level with Property Brothers. We are looking for an opportunity here locally to be able to do something similar where we can kind of make a show out of it,"Manley said. “We want to do some before video of the fire house on Walnut and offer an opportunity for interior designers to give us their plans and really do something similar to the Property Brothers show.”
Habitat will lease Fire Station 9, but no plans for major renovations have been made.
"It(station 9) is on the National Historic Registry and there are limitations on what you can do to the building without infringing on that and it's highly regulated,”Manley said. “For now we will not being doing adaptations to that building, we are using it as storage."
Habitat will pay $1 for the lease and maintain all the utilities on the property. While Habitat leases Fire Station 9 for storage space, the city will continue looking for a permanent tenant for the building.
“There is an interest (from the city council) in seeing it redeveloped potentially as commercial, since it’s in a commercial corridor,” Woody said.
Manley said the Habitat team would start the rehab reality show in early January. Habitat for Humanity is looking for private donations to help rehab Fire Station 11. For more information on the project or to make a donation, contact Cate Manley at 816-279-2552 or log on to www.stjoehabitat.org.
The Fire Station 8 on Mitchell Avenue will be the next fire house to be replaced. In August voters approved a renewal of the CIP which will provide funds to build a new fire station on Mitchell Ave. near the Missouri Western State University campus.
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