Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dixon's Old Firehouse is a step closer to getting a facelift

Firehouse project revisions approved

By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

Article Launched: 01/13/2007 07:37:08 AM PST

Dixon's Old Firehouse is a step closer to getting a facelift, which the city hopes will bolster downtown economic vibrancy.

The City Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency, adopted a resolution Tuesday night that approved Old Firehouse project revisions that involve partnership structure, project financing and external design.

"I've outgrown my space," said Kristina Wiley, who is relocating her dental office to the firehouse. "The Old Firehouse is a nice big building with a very cool nostalgic look and there are not a lot of places to relocate in Dixon."

The project financing has increased from $1.6 million to $1.9 million to keep up with construction costs. There was also a change in the amount the Redevelopment Agency is loaning the pro-ject. In the revised plan the agency loan totals $750,000 instead of $450,000.

Economic Development Director Mark Heckey explained that out of the three original partners ready to take on the project, only one remains. Wiley, the remaining partner, is also the manager of Dixon Fire Station, LLC.

"Overall, we believe that the foregoing changes, which from our perspective are absolutely necessary in order to maintain the viability of this project, are extremely positive in nature and serve to enhance both the financial integrity of this project and the aesthetics of this historic building," Wiley wrote in a letter to the city.

Wiley will be operating her dental office on the second floor along with a Victorian tea room downstairs, below her dental office.

She confirmed that the rest of the building is 100 percent rented out to tenants.

Two new limited partners have also been substituted for the ones that left.

Wiley said she is working with architects and a design team to achieve the right look. She also is working with former volunteer firefighters who once worked at the Old Firehouse.

"The new design really appeals to the small-town charm," Wiley said. "We hope it will all be done by early 2008."

The Old Firehouse at 140 North Jackson St., adjacent to a city parking lot at North Jackson Street and West B Street, was the city's main fire station from 1927 to 1996.

In 1997 the new fire station on Ford Way was opened and all Fire Department functions, including equipment parking, sleeping quarters, training, administration and maintenance moved to the new facility.

Melissa Murphy can be reached at dixon@thereporter.com.

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