YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – When Youngstown Fire Station 7 closes at year’s end, there will be an effort to repurpose the building.
Youngstown is littered with abandoned fire stations. According to youngstownfire.com, there are eight of them — five on the south side and one each on the north, east and west sides. Station 7 will make nine.
At the corner of Elm Road and Madison Avenue on Youngstown’s north side, the cornerstone of Fire Station 7 sums up its historical value — erected in 1903.
“It’s a wonderful building and it should be maintained as part of the personality of this neighborhood,” said Jim Converse, a leader of Common Wealth Inc.
Common Wealth Inc. has already spent $11 million renovating five buildings on Elm near the fire station.
Converse said if the price is right, the group would be interested in buying Station 7. He said they’d consider $60,000 to $80,000 as a possibility.
One other potential buyer could be Youngstown State. When asked about buying the building, President Jim Tressel wrote, “We always look at real estate in our footprint.”
“We’re not buying any of it,” said Johnathan Blackshire, president of the Wick Park Neighborhood Association. “We want real answers, we want a real plan and, if at all possible, we want to save this station.”
Blackshire has a rally planned for Saturday to let city officials know what his members want. It starts at 4 p.m. at the corner of Elm and Broadway.
The group will walk five blocks south to Station 7 to talk about keeping it open and the need for a comprehensive plan for fire protection in Youngstown.
However, Blackshire also knows the fire chief has already said the station will close.
“We’ve got the florist across the street who just went vacant and, of course, the grocery store, it’s been vacant for a while,” Blackshire said. “We don’t need another black eye to this neighborhood.”
“It’s still a landmark on the lower north side,” said Bill Lawson, with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.
He has a picture of Station 7 in its original state with an ornamental slate roof and horses.
“I think it’s definitely worth saving because of its place in the community,” Lawson said.
Converse said a restaurant is a possible option for the former fire station.
“We’ve also thought about having another bar. There’s a lot of local craft breweries. We’ve had several people interested in those.”
He’s open to suggestions.
“If someone has a good business idea that wants to partner with us on that, we’d love to do that,” Converse said.
The building that houses Station 7 is owned by developer Dominic Marchionda. We tried contacting him Wednesday about his plans for the building but we haven’t heard back.
Also, five blocks from Station 7 at Bryson and Woodbine is where a vacant apartment building stood for the better part of 20 years. It was a major eyesore in the Wick Park neighborhood, but the building has now been torn down.
The demolition started last week. On Wednesday, crews were moving some dirt around, leveling the lot.