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Plan in place for dilapidated city-parish firehouse

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BATON ROUGE - Nearly a year after a WBRZ Investigative Unit report on blighted city-parish firehouses, a plan is finally in place for one of them.

The historic firehouse on Laurel Street could soon turn into the offices for the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance.

The property was built in the 1920s and abandoned by the Baton Rouge Fire Department two years ago.

"It's an eyesore," Dorothy Richard said. "Me and my sister are tired of looking at it."

On Wednesday, the Metro Council could breathe new life into it. A plan is in the works to turn it over to the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance.

"The Mid City area has a lot of old buildings, and we consider them gems that can benefit from reinvestment and this is one that everybody talks about," Samuel Sanders, Executive Director for the Redevelopment Authority, said.

Initially, there were plans for a fire department museum at the property. However, securing the money for the project was a problem and that plan was abandoned.

"It's going to be a hefty price tag, about $300,000, just to renovate the space so it functions," Sanders said.

If all goes as planned, the city-parish will enter into what's called a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance to buy the property. Currently, it is appraised at $135,000. The organization says their offer will be fair, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done. All of the electrical and plumbing lines need to be replaced and the building gutted.

With talk of a plan that is finally in place for the firehouse, neighbors couldn't be more excited.

"I don't like to see it boarded up like that," Richard said. "It could be put to good use."

Securing the money for repairs will take time. If the organization gets the green light, they say it could take at least 15 months to move in.


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