METRO HISTORIC ZONING COMMISSION: DAMAGE CAN BE REPAIRED; ISSUES PERMIT FOR EMERGENCY WORK TO STABILIZE AND SECURE ROOF, WINDOWS AND DOORS
Nashville, Tenn. – Dec. 2, 2011 – After serving its community as a firehouse for more than 40 years, and with hopes for a neighborhood art center left unrealized, the historic Gallatin Road Fire Hall Engine No. 18 was damaged by a structure fire last night. One person was injured and serious damage inflicted on a building featured by Historic Nashville, Inc. (HNI) in its 2011 Nashville Nine list of the city’s most endangered historic properties. The building was previously designated in 2006 by the Metro Council and Metro Historic Zoning Commission as a Local Landmark, which requires the city to review and approve any renovation and repair work to ensure that it complies with appropriate guidelines.
Today, Tim Walker, Executive Director of the Metro Historical and Historic Zoning Commissions, held an emergency meeting with a representative from North Edgefield Organized Neighbors (NEON), a nonprofit which acquired the property in 2008, and a local contractor. The early prognosis is good: Metro Historic Zoning and the contractor deemed the damage to the 80-year-old brick building can be repaired. A permit will be issued today for a temporary roof covering to protect it from the elements. It has also been rumored that the building will have a foam roof repair coating applied, to try and salvage the framework. The addition of plywood over the windows and doors to secure the building and keep people out has also occurred. A local architect has volunteered to produce plans to guide the repairs and renovation process whilst options for a roof contractor are considered.
“This fire is a reminder that Nashville’s historic buildings, the places that make Nashville unique, must be maintained and kept from falling into disrepair and neglect,” said HNI president Robbie Jones, who inspected the building last night soon after the fire was extinguished. “A vacant historic building is an accident waiting to happen and more importantly a missed opportunity. Let’s work together to revitalize our endangered historic places and keep the communication going between communities, city government agencies, and nonprofits to ensure there are no more injuries or loss of historic buildings in our city.”
The next steps for the fire hall will be the execution of plans to renovate and refurbish the property, which has been underway since it was sold by its previous owners, Wayne and Linda Hackney, to Wal-Mart in 2004. They used the building for their office, to house antique cars and as a car lot. Wal-Mart, in turn, gifted the property to NEON in 2004 to be used as a community art center. This must have been devastating news to the residents of Nashville. But if we’re thinking about it positively, no matter where you are and you are trying to resolve an issue like this, knowing that you can get in touch with a Nashville roofing company, an Austin roofing company or one in London, getting your property up and running again may not be as tough as you initially thought. This is why we have specialists like these out there. When this building is fully refurbished, the owners will probably want to make sure that they make the building as fireproof as possible. They could also consider purchasing some emergency exit signage to put up around the building, making sure the public will be able to evacuate the building as safely as possible if an event like this occurs again. Hopefully, a fire won’t happen again, but it’s always better to be prepared.
This is the fifth Nashville Nine property to be lost or seriously damaged in the last three years. Vacant, neglected buildings – especially during the winter – are too often used as an unsafe refuge and as such pose hazards to individuals and the community. Other Nashville properties lost include the “Silverdene” mansion in East Nashville, Charlotte Pike Church of Christ near Sylvan Park, Murphy School in Midtown and the Nipper’s Sporting Goods neon sign overlooking 8th Avenue downtown.
About Historic Nashville, Inc.
Established in 1968 and renamed in 1975, Historic Nashville, Inc. (HNI) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 membership organization with the mission to “Promote and preserve the historic places that make Nashville unique.” Over the years, HNI has successfully advocated for the preservation of such historic places the Ryman Auditorium, Union Station, Hermitage Hotel, 2nd Avenue & Lower Broadway, and Shelby Street Bridge, as well as neighborhood historic districts throughout the city. In 1982, HNI established the state’s first Preservation Easement program and currently owns easements on 16 historic landmarks with a market value of over $30 million. HNI hosts an annual membership meeting, publishes an Annual Report, maintains a website, hosts educational programs such as Behind-the-Scenes tours, an annual fundraiser called the Brick & Mortar Bash, and the annual “Nashville Nine” list of the city’s most endangered historic places. For additional information, please visit www.historicnashvilleinc.org and our Facebook page.