HAWTHORNE – Hawthorne’s vacant fire department building may be renovated to bring money into the city.
Commissioner DeLoris Roberts brought this idea to the commission’s attention during a meeting on Tuesday. She said she thought this renovation could increase the city’s income without taxing residents.
“We got this building here that we don’t utilize,” she said. “”It would give us something to work towards to give us some money in our pockets.”
Hawthorne has been trying to reactivate the former city-run fire department and use its buildings and resources. However, Roberts’ plan to renovate the building may never come to fruition if this were to happen.
The city needs a backup plan if the fire department does not return, and this renovation could be the solution to bring income into the city, Roberts said.
All citizens could use the building for parties, banquets and meetings. She said there currently is a lack of locations in the city to host these types of events.
Roberts said using the fire department would give the city an advantage because the building site is already there to be used. Also, there is a kitchen, washer and dryer on the property that could be used during events.
Roberts said this renovation could revitalize the area and bring people into the area.
The building’s interior and exterior have not been maintained throughout the years. The roof needs to be fixed, and areas of the building will need to be reconstructed since it is not up to code.
Also, furniture will need to be bought, and there would be annual operation costs once the property is functional.
Mayor Matthew Surrency said it is a good idea to consider this option if they are unsuccessful in bringing the fire services back to the city.
Hawthorne resident Leonard Jones said this idea might not be the answer to the city’s attempt to bring money into the local economy.
“We may be chasing a dream concerning that fire station,” he said. “Is it really important?”
He also said the utilities are still on in the building even though it is vacant, and there is personal property from local residents being stored there.
Although this issue was only brought up for discussion during the meeting, commissioners will discuss the idea further at a later date.
Commissioner Roberts said this building might help the city’s current financial situation.
“We have to capitalize on our resources. We have to utilize what we have to make our finances better.”
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