Public hearing set to discuss what to do with empty Baton Rouge fire stations

Photo provided by staff.
Monday, December 9, 2013 - 9:27pm

When LueRean Talley looks next door she sees an boarded up, weathered, and vacant fire station on Osage Street . It's an eye sore she says she'd like to see spruced up.

"It would be nice to have it occupied," Talley said. "It would make a difference, because you know the corner is not occupied, and it could create a whole lot of unnecessary hassle."

The Old Fire Station 2 sits at the corner of Osage Street next to the I-110 near Chippewa Street. The property was vacated after the Baton Rouge Fire Department moved into a new fire station nearby.

The old fire station is located in Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker's district.

Wicker said the property is under the control of the city parish's department of public works. DPW boarded up the windows, but Wicker said people still get in, and it's a problem.

"We know individuals are here doing things they are not supposed to do. The prostitution the drug dealing. (it is) just a haven that really causes the neighborhood not to feel like they're safe," Wicker said. "This could be something very positive, but right now it's just a negative."

Wicker said that's one of the reasons she supports a plan by city parish leaders to get several old fire houses like the one on Osage Street considered "surplus property" and no longer needed for public purposes so the city parish can begin to put the properties on the market.

Wicker said Wednesday the Metro Council will host a public hearing to discuss declaring the Old Fire Station 2 on Osage Street and Old Fire Station 16 on Rosenwald Road as surplus property.

Wicker would like to see a community development group or an individual use the old firehouse on Osage to bring new services to area.

"A lot of people will see something that is negative. Yes it does look terrible, but at the same time I think it creates a unique opportunity for us to take something and create something positive fore the community," Wicker said. "I think it will be a great even combination of senior or a youth center. (It could be) something outside of the box that could really serve as a model of how to bring a community back from the brink."

Talley said hopes the change comes soon.

"I would like to see something more up beat a senior citizen complex or something like that," Talley said. " (I'd) lIke to make the neighborhood look a little bit better. Add some life to the neighborhood."
 

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