HANOVER TWP. — The Lee Park Firehouse is being demolished.
The building previously served as the township’s fire and police headquarters and also once housed municipal and district court offices.
Township Manager Sam Guesto said an engineer’s report indicated the building on Lee Park Avenue was in imminent danger of collapsing. A side wall facing an unnamed alley close to a residence was buckling, Guesto added.
Hanover commissioners last month awarded a demolition contract to Redmond Logging and Excavating Inc., of Dallas, for $20,800 to raze the building. Crews began taking down the structure this week with plans to totally demolish the building by early next week.
The Lee Park Firehouse was the center of the township prior to the Agnes Flood of 1972. After the flood, a municipal building that houses the police department was constructed on the Sans Souci Parkway. And in 1998, district court relocated to leased space behind a credit union on the parkway.
The building continued to serve as a firehouse equipped with a pumper and an aerial ladder truck due to its close proximity to a residential high rise on Lee Park Avenue as it once boasted 70 volunteers. It was briefly used by the police department as a satellite office.
Dinners were held on the second floor for the high school’s athletic teams during the 1980s.
About 12 years ago, due to a deteriorating roof and dwindling volunteers, the fire department removed its vehicles and equipment as the building continued to decay. Estimates to replace the roof totaled $200,000 in the early 2000s.
The decision to close the firehouse was an easy one as a 2004 state study recommended the township consolidate its seven fire houses.
Guesto said once debris is completely removed, the area will be graded and seeded.
“The board of commissioners will make a determination for further use of that space,” Guesto said. “There has been some consideration of putting something recreational there.”
A new fire department headquarters constructed on the parkway is scheduled to open in January.
Guesto said once the new headquarters is open, decisions will be made on the remaining six fire houses. He did say the Hanover Green Firehouse will likely be razed to make room for the Hanover Township Ambulance Association headquarters.