Commissioners of the Lido and Point Lookout Fire District voted unanimously on March 30 to begin the process of demolishing the severely damaged Ye Olde Firehouse.
The decision comes on the heels of a financial analysis of the building discussed at a community meeting on March 24. Officials said that the Depression-era structure, which was closed to the public in 2011 due to its deteriorated condition — and later damaged by Hurricane Sandy — was determined to possess a market value significantly less than the millions in infrastructure upgrades it requires to become code-compliant.
Fire Commissioner Andrew Richter said that there’s no plan yet for the property once the building is torn down, but he added that the fire district would retain ownership of the land, for now at least, because it will be a factor in whatever renovations the district undergoes on their remaining buildings in the future.
“From our commissioners and Fire Department members, to the many community residents who have shared their thoughts, it is recognized that removing the building is really the pragmatic solution,” Richter said in a statement.
The fate of the structure has been in flux since 2013, when Point Lookout and Lido Beach voters overwhelmingly struck down a $7 million bond referendum to fund upgrades to the fire department’s facilities. The measure called for a renovation of the PLLFD’s Main Firehouse — its headquarters in Point Lookout — as well as the Lido Firehouse, and the demolition of the Ye Olde Firehouse, which would be replaced with a command center housing a conference and training room and administrative offices. By that time, the building had already been closed for years due to termite damage in the front wall of the structure.
There was a second attempt to pass a bond referendum in 2014, Richter said, as well as an offer to sell the firehouse, but neither measure succeeded.