Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Plan to bring arts center to Ruskin firehouse advances

RUSKIN — A plan to convert a soon-to-be-vacated Hillsborough County Fire Rescue fire station into a community center for the arts is moving closer to reality.

After the Board of County Commissioners gave the idea a thumbs-up last month, the not-for-profit Ruskin Community Development Foundation in charge of the project has been busy hammering out a business plan.

The group hopes to have a plan approved by the time firefighters leave the 101 First Ave. NE building in the spring, said the Ruskin foundation's president, Sandy Council.

Firefighters need the new station, at the northeast corner of Fourth Street SE and College Avenue, because the current one is in a flood zone, said a fire department spokesman. The new station cost $1.6 million in county capital funds.

Because of an agreement made when the Ruskin Commongood Society gave the current firehouse to the county in the '50s, the station is eligible to be given back to the community at no cost, provided there's a viable plan to use it.

The biggest expenses will be insurance and operations, which organizers hope to fund with donations and endowments, Council said.

She said the 21-member community group imagines a space for orchestral concerts, theatrical performances and classrooms for art workshops.

"We don't have anything like that down here right now," Council said, pointing to Ruskin's sparse downtown area. "We think this could really be the cornerstone of redevelopment."

She mentioned Ruskin's annual Big Draw, a monthlong celebration of drawing held in October, as evidence that the center would thrive. Art is important here, she said.

Council said concerts will be held in the station's three high-ceilinged truck bays. Offices and classrooms will be tucked inside air-conditioned living spaces. Outdoor patios could host movie festivals.

The vision only requires minimal renovations, she said.

At one point, community leaders considered using the firehouse as a "business incubator" to temporarily house start-up companies and provide business counseling classes.

And although arts and education seem to be taking the main stage of the project, Council said no idea is off the table.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at (813) 661-2442 or kwilmath@sptimes.com.

Plan to bring arts center to Ruskin firehouse advances 12/02/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 2, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave

    Crime

    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, died after a deputy-involved shooting Friday. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that Chamberlaine attempted to rob a bank before taking deputies on a pursuit. (Florida Department of Corrections)
  2. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  3. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  4. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  5. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]