One of the first buildings encountered by visitors to Magnuson Park as they enter off of NE 74th Street is Building 18…an old firehouse. Like many of the historic buildings on site, it’s in serious disrepair and in need of much TLC. Another similarity to many of the other buildings throughout the site is the question, “What should be done with it?” That’s where you come in, thanks to the website, Popularise.
Popularise is a website that lets people in the community have a voice on what should be done for specific properties and projects. First unveiled in December 2011 by a couple real estate and developer types in Washington D.C. as a way to find out what the community wanted from an underutilized building they owned, Popularise allows people to share ideas and comment or vote on others.
Julianna Ross, the chair of the Magnuson Park Advisory Committee, is soliciting ideas on what to do with “the old firehouse.” According to the building description on the site,
Building 18’s location is ideal for a variety of purposes, being sited on what is considered the park’s Main Street, and is on the way to many of the park’s most popular amenities like the off-leash dog area, nine ball fields, restored wetlands, outdoor amphitheater, community garden and playground. It is directly across from another important historic building, Building 30, a former airplane hangar with offices that is being renovated by the City beginning October 2012.
The building enjoys abundant parking, visibility and pedestrian access. The first floor openings are mainly comprised of large garage doors, allowing inviting access and good social space. The first floor also presents a charming brick interior. Its four-story tower formerly used for drying hoses is visible from much of the historic district.
So far, the ideas for the building range from converting the site into a Navy Support Museum, creating an information center, or bringing a “Firehouse Cafe” to the park.
Do you like any or all of these ideas? Have you had a “genius moment” and feel compelled to share something completely different for what should happen there? If so, check out Popularise and have a say on what could happen to “the old firehouse.”