The Indianapolis Fire Department plans to move the Broad Ripple fire station from its longtime home at 6330 N. Guilford Ave. to the former site of Johnny’s Market at 6379 N. College Ave.
The current home of Fire Department Station No. 32 is 100 years old and too small for modern firetrucks, according to fire department officials. The city already has acquired the site for the new station, which it purchased from the neighboring American Legion Post No. 3.
On April 26, the fire department presented initial plans for the project to the Broad Ripple Village Association’s land use committee.
The station itself would not exceed 15,000 square feet and would have an adjacent surface parking lot with up to 14 spaces, IFD officials said during the meeting. An early rendering shows three bays for fire trucks, offices, a kitchen and sleeping quarters, as well as entrances to the parking lot from an alley immediately behind the property and along College Avenue.
Battalion Chief Rita Reith, public information officer for IFD, said finer details of the project are still being finalized ahead of a community presentation. Its next presentation for the BRVA land use committee is set for May 26, during which a vote tied to the project is expected.
The project does not require approval from the BRVA, but the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission would consider its recommendation when weighing approvals for the project.
The project would take about one year to complete once city approvals are received and a contract is awarded for construction, Reith said. To move forward, IFD must receive city approval to rezone the prospective site from the MU-1 mixed-use designation to SU-9, which allows special uses that include fire stations.
Axis Architecture has been hired as the designer on the project.
The City-County Council last fall appropriated $7.5 million for the project. Reith said $6 million would go toward construction, $1 million was for site procurement and the remainder would be used for new information technology equipment, appliances and furniture.
The city acquired the roughly 0.43-acre piece of land for $950,000 from the American Legion Post on Oct. 27. Johnny’s Market closed last December after 45 years, after opting not to renew its lease on the site.
The American Legion Post will remain at its current site on the southeast corner of College Avenue and 64th Street.
The current fire station, built in 1922, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Broad Ripple Fire Department Station No. 32 merged with the Butler-Tarkington station in 2016 as part of a larger reorganization by IFD.
Scarlett Andrews, director of the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development, said city officials are considering potential uses for the existing building once it is vacated.
Finding a new use would likely require a public process—including community feedback—before a project is put out to bid. DMD is collaborating with the city’s Office of Finance and Management on the effort.
“It is very early on. … We would likely do a community-based process and seek reuse in partnership with developers,” she said, adding that demolition of the structure is not currently on the table.
“I think the community sees great value in the historic nature of the building and its fit within the Broad Ripple area,” Andrews said. “I think we would be looking to the community to say, ‘What are the priorities for reuse?’”
The city in recent years has gone through similar processes for at least two other former fire stations: the Central State station and the Butler-Tarkington station at 56th and Illinois Streets. The latter station has been repurposed as a daytime coffee shop and evening wine bar named Chalet that opened earlier this year.