New plans for the old police station

New plans for the old police station

A former school and community center was converted into a police station in 1933. The condemned building was saved from demolition due to its historic nature, and will be converted back to a community house and be used as a warming shelter as well, thanks to the efforts of Hope-Jackson Fire Company Chief John Robinson.

SCITUATE – Plans to restore the former Scituate Police Station fall on Hope-Jackson Fire Company Chief John Robinson, who says he would like to see it go back to its former state as a community house.

Robinson said the Town Council approved the transfer of the property at a meeting on June 28, and the solicitor is in the process of signing ownership to the volunteer, non-profit fire company. Robinson said he expects ownership to be finalized by the end of August.

The chief said the former station will go through many changes, and he will begin calling the building the “Hope Community Center,” located at 116 Main St., to better represent what it will become.

The fire station at 117 Main St. is across the street from the now vacant police station buildingin Hope.

Plans for the center include reverting it back to its historical nature as a community hall and using space as a “much needed” emergency warming center for the southern end of town, said the chief.

“Returning this structure to its original state and like purpose, or as close to it as we can, would be of great benefit to our village and the town as a whole,” Robinson said.

Though many details on how the building will be used still have to be fleshed out, Robinson said he plans to add administrative offices for the fire company, a plan review room for the fire marshal, offices for the Emergency Management Agency, and to convert an area to a police substation for the Scituate Police Station.

Behind the community center is a communication tower key to the police, fire and rescue operations. Hope-Jackson Fire Company will continue to house and maintain the equipment’s components, which are necessary to maintain the town’s emergency communication system.

Robinson said the fire company’s building committee focuses on upkeep and repairs of equipment, and he will hand over responsibility of the old police station to that committee.

In the past, Robinson had success for achieving grant funding for other projects and acquisitions, which he said will help him when seeking funds for renovations at the community house.

The nonprofit status of the fire company, and the fact that the restoration process is a historical preservation project will be valuable in obtaining funding, Robinson said.

Once condemned due to extensive mold damage, the building was saved due to its status on the National Register of Historical Places. After the station was condemned and police were moved out, several plans came before the Town Council for the building, including low-income housing for veterans. Town Council President John Mahoney said housing in the building would be impractical and the plans fell through.

The first step, Robinson said, will be to mitigate further damage on the previously condemned building, stopping leaking and mold damage from the outside.

“We need to stop as much damage as we can now, and then move on to the restoration process,” Robinson said. “We understand the costs associated with the mitigation and restoration of the building. Our immediate goal would be to prevent any further deterioration.”

Once the progression of damage is stopped, Robinson said the focus will move to the larger scale restoration of the building.