The little firehouse that Steve Buscemi tried to save is headed to the auction block — over Community Board 6’s dead body.
At a first public hearing on the city’s plan to sell the shuttered Engine 204 on Degraw Street, the local planning board called for a 180-turn — not only demanding that the city keep the building, but also reopen it as a fire station.
The board argued that new growth planned for the area — including the 6,000-unit Atlantic Yards mega-project a mile away — requires a new Engine 204.
“With more people moving to the area, we need more, not less, firefighters,” said board member Celia Cacase at the crowded hearing.
Echoing CB6’s unanimous resolution were the local elected officials, including Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D-Park Slope) and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D-Cobble Hill), who were arrested with “Reservoir Dogs” star Buscemi when the 299 Degraw St. firehouse closed in 2004.
“We rezoned Fourth Avenue for growth, we’re building Atlantic Yards, there will be thousands of new people living along the Gowanus,” said DeBlasio. “Engine 204 is relevant to the safety of all these new neighborhoods.”
At a second hearing this Wednesday at Borough Hall, DeBlasio and others called on Borough President Markowitz to support their push to reopen the station.
It’s not likely. The station was closed along with seven others in a cost-cutting move. None of the engine houses have reopened.
At this point, “the best use of the property is to restore it to the tax rolls for beneficial use by others,” said Mark Daly, a spokesman for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
The narrow brick building could be sold for commercial or residential use following the completion of the city’s seven-month land-use public review process, which is required before city land can be sold.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that a former firehouse became luxury housing. In 2004, the city sold a Prospect Heights engine company for $775,000. It’s now called, without irony, “the Firehouse.”
©2007 Community News Group
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