Woodbury Eyes Former Auto Building For Fire Hall

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

The Woodbury Fire Department could have a new place to call home before the end of this year.

The Town of Woodbury Board of Mayor and Alderman will consider a resolution when it meets next Tuesday authorizing the mayor to borrow $212,500 to purchase the building on the Woodbury Town Square which formerly housed Jennings Motors.

Jennings Motors closed in 2009. The two-story structure currently has a tenants Antiques on the Square in the upper portion and Bromley/Jennings Automotive Repair on the lower level.

The total purchase price being asked by the Jennings Family, which owns the building, is $250,000, according to Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick.

Patrick said the remaining $37,500 of the purchase price would come out of the town's general fund balance. He said taxes will not be raised to make the purchase.

Woodbury has been looking into relocating from its current fire hall on West Water St. for the last few years. A move to the Jennings building would be just up the road.

Patrick said it has been estimated the cost of purchasing land for and building a new fire hall is in the $1 million range.

The Jennings building was constructed in the early 1970s. Patrick estimated if the purchase goes through, it could serve as a fire hall for the town for the next 30 years.

Patrick also said the upper level would continue to be rented out to either the existing tenants or to future tenants interested in located on the town square.

The mayor also said he has had inquiries from people interested in purchasing the current fire hall. If it is not sold, he said, it could be used to store large equipment owned by the town.

"The great thing about the Jennings building is the location," Patrick said. "It's centrally located to all areas of Woodbury."

Patrick also said very little worked needed to be done to the building to make it suitable for a fire hall. "We can move in right now and make it a fire hall," he said.

Patrick added it was a unique opportunity for the town to save money.

"A building like Jennings Motors does not come up for sale that often," Patrick said. "It has not been up for sale and the Jennings were not looking to sell it, so it's a rare opportunity for the town of Woodbury to acquire a building for a fire hall at one-fourth what a new one would cost."

The mayor said if the purchase goes through, he would anticipate the fire hall would move to the new location in November.