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Fire hall designs to be aired in Coupeville

The Coupeville Design Review Board will be considering the renovation designs for the old fire hall on Alexander Street when it meets next week. While the building is still owned by the town, the council unanimously agreed on Aug. 10 to sell the historic structure to the Ware family out of Lynden for $1,000. The agreement stipulated that the building be rehabilitated within 90 days.

The Wares’ bid beat out two others. Jerry Saia, owner of the Coupeville Inn, offered to pay $2,500 but he wanted 30 days to do a feasibility study to determine a use for the building. Max Hermann offered the most, bidding $5,000 but he wanted 90 days to examine possible uses and did not guarantee that the bathrooms attached to the building would continue to be offered for public use.

The 1937-built building, which is listed as a contributing structure on the National Register of historic places, was used at a fire station until the late 1960s, when it was transformed into the Island County Historical Society’s first museum.

According to conceptual designs to be presented to the review board, the Ware family plans to reinstall the two fire engine doors that were redesigned into windows by the historical society. The building’s internal framing will likely be replaced, as the structure does not meet current seismic standards, and the second floor may be converted to living space.

The sale agreement does provide the Ware family five days to back out of the deal should the review committee, through the requirement of conditions, make the project too difficult. In that event, the town would consider the other two options.

The review board’s meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be held at the Coupeville Recreation Hall.

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