Published: Aug 19, 2012 11:30 PM
Modified: Aug 19, 2012 11:32 PM
MORRISVILLE - A piece of Morrisville history, the town’s first fire station, is for sale or lease.
The Morrisville Town Council is putting the original Fire Station 1 at 100 Morrisville Carpenter Road on the market and plans to declare it surplus property on Aug. 28 in order to ready it for sale.The 53-year-old station was replaced with a 13,000-square-foot version on Town Hall Drive in March. The town staff is looking into possible public uses for the property, but in the meantime, the council is willing to consider offers for it. The building and land together are worth about $500,000, according to Wake County records.
Mayor Jackie Holcombe said the property could help launch the long-awaited town center plan. In the past decade, Morrisville bought 12 acres of land, mostly along the south side of Jeremiah Street and the north side of Carolina Avenue, in hopes of forming a public-private partnership to develop a downtown. It would include a library, recreation center, parks, townhomes, offices, and retail shops.
So far, the partnership is just an idea.
The old fire station’s location at the intersection of N.C. 55 and Morrisville Carpenter Road is highly visible.
“It would be the first big project that would signal we’re open for business in the town center,” Holcombe said.
Ideally, it would be a business or organization that could draw visitors to Morrisville, she said.
Other council members like Mark Stohlman see the property as a potential money-maker for Morrisville.
“I’m in favor of selling it as is,” he said. “Number one, put a for-sale sign on it. Sell it as is; if that doesn’t work then take next steps.”
Stohlman supported demolishing the building to make it more attractive to buyers if the property has trouble selling.
Council members Margaret Broadwell and Liz Johnson conceded to putting the property up for sale or lease but stressed they would like to keep the option to use the building as a public facility.
“Maybe we can get a senior center out of this,” Johnson said. “Maybe we need some more feedback from the public.”
For Broadwell, the old fire station has some nostalgia. Broadwell remembers when it served as the town’s only voting precinct in the 1980s.
“I remember waiting outside for tabulation – it was tabulated by hand then – and they would raise the (bay) doors and you could see who winners were,” she said.
The station also served as the site of many community celebrations and festivals, including fundraising barbecues for the then all-volunteer department.
“There was a lot of camaraderie around the fire station,” Broadwell said.
She recommended leasing the building and keeping some of the space available for town-use.