The city will pull back the curtain on its plans to build a new fire station at the old 25th Street Theatre location during a public meeting Wednesday evening.
The theater will be demolished and replaced with the new location of Waco Fire Station No. 6, currently located around the corner on Bosque Boulevard. City officials also plan to move fire administration offices to the $5.1 million facility and create a community meeting space inside.
City spokesman Larry Holze said the original Station No. 6, built in the 1940s, is small and largely outdated, and the placement of the exit’s force trucks headed west have to make several turns, adding 30 to 45 seconds to response times.
“In the old days, that was a good location,” Holze said. “But it’s been a problem for a long time.”
The meeting will run from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 at the Provident Heights Elementary School Cafeteria. Conceptual drawings for the new station, which are subject to change, will be on display and the public is invited to give feedback.
“We think it will be a revitalizing element to that whole area,” Holze said. “There’s a ‘wow’ factor about this. It will better serve the community and it will be more accessible.”
While the conceptual drawings are currently under wraps, Holze said the new station will take up a full block and will include two bays designed to house the larger trucks that are more typical of modern fire stations. Waco’s fire administration offices will be moved from their current location on 10th Street and Columbus Avenue to the new station, which will also be home to a community meeting space.
District 4 Councilman Dillon Meek said the Sanger-Heights, Brookview and Dean Highland neighborhoods all converge near the theater, making it a good location for the station.
“This really is a safety issue,” Meek said. “We’ve needed a new fire station. It’s very hard to come by enough real estate in the core of the city to build a fire station. This had enough real estate to do that.”
The building will be demolished and replaced, but its iconic sign was removed and saved to be incorporated into the project.
“We’ve worked very hard to develop plans that will honor the legacy of the 25th Street Theater,” Meek said. “I believe the community will be pleased, it’s a great honoring of the architectural legacy of the theater.”
While Fire Station No. 9 is currently the busiest in the city, for many years Fire Station No. 6 held that title, serving a large chunk of the city.