Brentwood council rekindles firehouse project -- Gazette.Net


Brentwood residents may have a new community center by 2015 thanks to a renewed push from the council to revive a decade-old project.

The historic firehouse on Utah Avenue in Brentwood has been vacant since 2006, and the town has discussed converting it into a community center for years. Now, the council is working on a plan that may enable construction to begin this summer, with completion around late 2015, said Brian Holland, town administrator.

“The town center in the firehouse would be a combination of providing town functions and [providing] after-school space and space for people to hold activities,” Holland said. “This is a key part of our revitalization of the town.”

The new community center would also house the police department, town offices and educational programs, Holland said.

The police department and offices are currently located at a small town hall building, where community meetings also take place. The town does not currently have a community center.

Mina Young, a Brentwood resident and former councilwoman, said previous Brentwood councils were not able to get the firehouse renovation off the ground because of internal disagreements.

“I’m excited because I think this administration will be able to achieve what no other has,” she said. “They’re pulling together as one. When you have a team that’s working together, the likelihood for success is much greater.”

Young said the project is much needed and long overdue.

“The town constantly has a demand for the use of the park and for the Town Hall for anything from Zumba classes to parties to other outings,” she said. “Brentwood is going through a rebirth and a regrowth.”

Councilwoman Jennifer Murphy said she is enthusiastic about the project and envisions the new community building containing a resource center where children and adults would have access to computers and other resources.

“We’re very excited for this to happen. It’s been a while in the making,” she said. “We’re hitting the ground running.”

The town experienced a setback when it requested bids for an engineer and failed to receive any responses by the deadline in January.

“I think we just didn’t do a deep enough outreach,” Holland said.

Holland said his next step will be to reach out to contractors individually.

Neither Murphy nor Young was worried that the request for an engineer was not answered right away, they said. Murphy said a more pressing need is for a general contractor who can tackle basic tasks like knocking down walls and rebuilding parts of the station.

Holland said the total remodeling of the old firehouse will cost around $860,000 and will include rewiring the building and painting.

Murphy said she is optimistic about the project and the benefits it will bring to the community.

“With this neighborhood we have, we take care of each other,” Murphy said. “I think that this fire station, this town center that we want, will really make Brentwood come alive and take it to the next step.”