Friday, November 30, 2012

Another council agenda surprise – sell Fire Station No. 1

Who “built that?”

UPDATE: Dec. 5 – According to two council members the unsolicited proposal to purchase the fire station is still under consideration. FOIA request denied Dec. 6.

UPDATE: Dec. 3 – According to Rob Ledger Roanoke’s Economic Department Director the proposal was not from the party planning the hotel next door. City manager Chris Morrill said that he knew the iconic fire station No. 1 was a highly charged topic but had to present the proposal to council anyway. It is unclear whether council said to move forward with it or not.

Larry Black saw the closed session on this website and spoke at city council Monday afternoon. He said he went to every fire station in the city and asked firefighters what they thought about selling it. Black said they all were vehemently against it and wanted to see it as a firefighter’s museum.

Former firefighter Mike Overacker said on facebook: I absolutely believe that old fire Station #1 should be a Firefighter Museum. A quick little story. I was downtown near station number one when I noticed a couple looking into the front door of the fire station, which was closed. I approached them and asked them if they wanted to know anything about station. They told me that they were in Washington DC that morning and were going to travel down Interstate 81 to Tennessee that day. They were talking to some DC firefighters and asked them if they knew any interesting points that they could visit while traveling down Interstate 81. The DC firefighters told them that they should stop by downtown Roanoke and visit the old Fire Station #1. I told the visitors that the fire department only had tours when they had firefighters on light duty. They were disappointed and then decided to get back in their vehicle and continued down Interstate 81. Roanoke lost an opportunity to be a high point of that couples travel that day. Roanoke City officials constantly talk about Roanoke being a tourist destination, but failed to see that they already have a place in downtown Roanoke that Washington DC firefighters know about and promote, but the city ignores. If Roanoke City Council is half the smart as they like to think they are, they would utilize the small amount of money it would take to make Fire Station #1 into a tourist destination that firefighters across the country would come to visit. Of course, you have to assume that city cares about firefighters at all, which from past experiences cannot be assumed by any stretch of the imagination. But, instead, they offer to make it into an EMS Museum, which it never had EMS in it, or as a pub for a brewery. Yet, every attempt to make it a museum for Firefighters has never even received any attention whatsoever.

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A closed session on selling Fire Station No. 1. What’s up with that? Does the group negotiating the hotel on top of the Church Avenue garage want to buy it. Maybe President Obama wants to buy it FOR THE MEMORIES.

So many surprises lately … just ram it through and maybe no one will notice? Are they kidding?

The Park Foundation  another use could be for the Sports Complex at Countryside. I recall that being mentioned as a way to fund it. (Do-do-do lookin’ out my backdoor). Some things never change – only the faces are different. The ingredients are the same – just added in a different order.

Note too that due to an ordinance error (noticed by a neighbor who received a copy) the city is having to redo the amended Countryside Master Plan ordinance. As I wrote before they passed the ordinance saying that the Planning Commission approved changing the parcel designated for agriculture to recreation for the Soccer Complex fields. The PC vote failed but the ordinance said that the PC recommended the change. Looks like there is another chance to object at a public hearing redo. The record needs to be accurate – this ordinance could be used to reference by future commissions and councils.

Countryside Master Plan amendment requires a revote

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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