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The city’s former Fire Station No. 1, on Kimbrough Avenue, is the proposed site for a microbrewery and tap house.
The city’s former Fire Station No. 1, on Kimbrough Avenue, is the proposed site for a microbrewery and tap house.

City Beat: Interest sparks for two former city firehouses

Council also moves on a new task force that will reconsider city-airport authority

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Two long-vacant city fire stations could get major renovations – including space for another microbrewery and taproom for the city’s buzzing craft beer scene.

Springfield City Council on April 9 reviewed purchase plans for former Fire Station No. 1 at 235 N. Kimbrough Ave. and former Fire Station No. 6 at 1201 S. Campbell Ave. The city put the properties up for sale in January.

At Fire Station No. 1, local contractor and developer Stinson & Co. LLC submitted plans for an unnamed microbrewer to open shop at the two-story, roughly 9,500-square-foot firehouse, just south of Taylor’s Drive In. It remained active with the Springfield Fire Department until 2001, according to city documents.

Stinson & Co. owner Jack Stinson, who could not be reached for comment by press time, offered the city $370,000 for the property. His plans are up for a final review on April 23. Stinson & Co.’s recent work includes infill for 4 by 4 Brewing Co. LLC in Galloway Village.

Springfield is home to at least a half-dozen microbreweries, according to city permit records. It remains unclear whether a new or existing brewing company would occupy the fire station.

Officials with Prehistoric Brewing Co. LLC, which announced plans in mid-2017 to raise startup capital, confirmed it’s not the proposed Kimbrough Avenue taproom tenant.

Interpres Building Solutions LLC offered the city $160,000 for Fire Station No. 6, near Fassnight Park. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing firm plans to renovate the space for its own offices. The city ceased operations at the fire station in 2002.

“We’d admired the architecture of the building for many years, even imagined it as a potential office space since the Fire Department ceased operations in that location,” Interpres Building owner Brad Palmer told council during the last meeting.

Palmer said the company plans to invest $150,000-$200,000 to remodel the interior of the fire station, with plans to restore and preserve its exterior. He said the company would keep the training tower but not use it as workspace.

Nearby Parkview High School also could benefit from the sale.

“One aspect of our proposal that we wanted to highlight is the potential for partnership with Parkview High School to promote STEM education programs,” Palmer said of the curriculum in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He said the firm already mentors a Springfield Public Schools student, twice weekly as part of engineering curriculum, with a number of other students shadowing staff.

The proposed sale is contingent on rezoning the fire station for office use. Council is expected to vote on the proposal April 23.

Airport authority
Council considered a resolution to explore removing the Springfield-Branson National Airport from municipal authority.

Approved unanimously, the resolution creates a task force to vet a regional airport authority or “some other governance model” for the airport.

Springfield-Branson National Airport Aviation Director Brian Weiler said a privatization of airport operations is not among options being vetted, and the airport ultimately would remain under public ownership.

If an airport authority became the preferred choice, he said it would follow common approaches at neighboring airports, such as Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, Huntsville International Airport in Alabama and Nashville International Airport in Tennessee.

As proposed, the nine-member task force would comprise:

• two council members;

• two at-large residents;

• two representatives from the city’s Airport Board;

• an appointee from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce;

• an appointee from the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau; and

• an appointee from Ozarks Technical Community College.

A final report from the task force would be due by Dec. 31.

In other business, council reviewed a proposed rezoning of nearly 2 acres at 500 N. National Ave. for a church. Calvary Chapel of Springfield requested the new zoning.

Council also reviewed a proposed rezoning of roughly 1 acre at 225 E. Cardinal Ave. to allow a 28-unit apartment complex, as proposed by Reality Investments LLC. The property sits southeast of the James River Freeway and Campbell Avenue interchange and adjacent to the $10 million Coryell Commons senior living complex.

Both rezoning bills are up for votes April 23.


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