Fire station shows what can happen when neighbors unite

Friday December 27, 2013 12:25 PM

To the Editor:

A decade ago, on Dec. 18, 2003, the Clintonville community dedicated the Northmoor Engine House (Fire Station 19) at 3601 N. High St.

Every time I pass the station, I am reminded of what great things happen when a community works together.

A new fire station was needed in Clintonville because the existing fire station was small, antiquated and could not support the modern fire equipment and vehicles. Building on the existing property may have resulted in the loss of the Colonial Revival structure that was dedicated in 1931. The building was the sole engine house built during the Great Depression in Columbus and was located, at that time, at the city's northern edge.

The Committee to Save the Northmoor Engine House was formed to advocate for the preservation of the current structure. Many area residents provided their expertise to show that an adaptive reuse of Fire Station 19 was possible, the station was historically viable, the community wanted to save it, and it was financially viable to do so. The Clintonville Area Commission supported the residents' efforts and this option was possible under the leadership of Tom Erney.

Four members of this committee were architects from the area. Pat Manley conducted a feasibility study explaining the benefits of saving the current structure. Michael Bongiorno and Michael Roush donated their time to collect the information needed to place the Northmoor Engine House on the Columbus Register of Historic Places. Don Durst, then chairman of the AIA Columbus chapter, Historic Resources Committee, worked on compiling the community endorsements. More than 20 Clintonville residents circulated a petition in the neighborhood encouraging the adaptive reuse of the Northmoor Engine House.

A total of 1,200 signatures were collected and presented to the mayor, Columbus City Council and the Public Safety Department.

The city of Columbus hired Schorr and Associates to design the new station. Gutknecht Construction began work on the $3 million project in September 2002 with the dedication the following year. It was truly a community project that became a gift to us all.

The station's motto is "The Pride on High," which is fitting not only for the fire department but also the Clintonville community.

Susan Gaunce