By ASHLEY HELMS
The roughly 100-year-old Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 firehouse, standing dormant on Mamaroneck Avenue, may become the new home of what some consider to be an iconic Village of Mamaroneck organization if the project is deemed financially feasible.
The Larchmont-Mamaroneck Television Station, or LMC-TV, is weighing the options of completely renovating the firehouse and opening up a television studio inside. A studio on Mamaroneck Avenue would be more centrally located than LMC-TV’s other studios and would ideally attract more visitors to the village’s downtown business district.
If the project goes forward, LMC-TV’s new firehouse location would include a television studio, administrative office and a place to hold workshops on video and news production that are open to the public.
Required repairs to the old firehouse in order for it to be useable again, including rewiring any necessary electrical connections inside, could cost LMC-TV in the ballpark of $1 million according to Trustee Andres Bermudez Hallstrom, a Democrat. LMC-TV would pay for the construction partially with its capital funds reserve.
Representatives from the organization were unable to say exactly how much LMC-TV has in its capital reserves.
“It’s a great use of a space we’re not otherwise using, and it makes [Mamaroneck] Avenue a destination,” Bermudez Hallstrom said. “It’s also good for LMC-TV because, right now, they’re scattered all over.”
LMC-TV has studios in Mamaroneck High School, Rye Neck High School and at 145 Library Ln. It’s headquartered in the Mamaroneck Town Hall, located at 740 West Boston Post Road.
Approval from the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Cable TV Board of Control, which oversees LMC-TV, and the village Board of Trustees is necessary before the project could begin.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, is also a member of the Cable TV Board of Control.
A new firehouse was built in 2009 at 146 Palmer Ave. and the firefighters housed in the old building relocated to the new facility. The modern building is more adequate for the fire department, which has four other locations across the village.
Erik Lewis, executive director of LMC-TV said it would benefit the organization to have its main operations in an easily identifiable location like Mamaroneck Avenue. The project is still on the drawing board and Lewis said LMC-TV is in the midst of calculating how much operating expenses and repairs would cost.
“If we consolidate our operations in one easily identified located, I think it would benefit us and the community to be consolidated,” he said.
According to Bermudez Hallstrom, Representatives from LMC-TV made a presentation to the Board of Trustees several months ago in which it unveiled its idea for a possible move into the old firehouse. So far, the proposal is still in a state of informal discussion and there isn’t a timeline for when the project may begin or end, if approved.
“The idea that’s been floating is that [LMC-TV] would lease the building from us and I believe they would be the ones responsible for the improvements,” Bermudez Hallstrom said.
Project cost and construction hours may be the biggest obstacles facing the station, the trustee said. Most of the station’s employees are volunteers.
The station will most likely make a decision whether the project is able to go forward or not, Lewis said. He thinks the firehouse is aesthetically attractive and would be a good place for LMC-TV.
“For us it would be a big project, but we’re not alone. People in the village might help the project,” Lewis said.
He compared the possibility of moving into the firehouse to Manhattan’s Downtown Community Television Center, located at 87 Lafayette St., which also turned an unused fire station into a television studio and community center.
“Firehouses make great community centers and we’d like to go in that direction,” Lewis said.
Bermudez Hallstrom said he looks forward to the station’s proposal and, from what the Board of Trustees has seen so far, it seems like a good idea.
“It’s nice for the volunteers because they get to display their work to a wider audience,” Bermudez Hallstrom said. “People from Connecticut may be visiting and they go to a restaurant and see a wonderful bit of video on [LMC-TV’s] building.”