Hanover OKs fire museum move

Written by Lillian Reed, Hanover Evening Sun | May 28, 2015 4:30 PM
hanover fire station 600x340.jpg

Photo by Evening Sun

The old Eagle fire station sun room, pictured on Jan. 27, where firefighters and their families could eat and purchase ice cream and other sweets. Council members OK'd moving the Hanover Fire Museum to the Eagle station at their May 27 meeting.

The Hanover Borough Council voted Wednesday in favor of moving the Hanover Fire Museum to the old Eagle fire station after hearing several residents voice their concerns regarding the relocation.

Criticisms included moving the museum away from downtown Hanover, zoning and parking for a museum in a residential neighborhood and using tax dollars and borough property to house the niche collection.

One area resident and one council member suggested allowing members of the public an opportunity to ask questions and air out concerns, but council opted out of holding a public hearing on the issue.

Seven of the eight members who were present voted to move the museum to the borough-owned Eagle station on East Hanover Street. Council member Henry McLin, who suggested the public hearing, cast the lone dissenting vote.

The relocation is fiscally practical move, a majority of council members said Wednesday and during the finance and personnel committee meeting last week.

The borough spends approximately $7,500 annually to lease the former Hanover Shoe Co. boiler room, which is owned by Pennrose Properties, said James Roth, a borough council member, former fire commissioner and member of the museum committee.

The museum committee, which Roth said is made up of about 15 representatives from various fire departments around Hanover, was formed in January to weigh the pros and cons of moving.

The museum, which does not charge entrance fees but rather accepts donations, brings in about $2,200 a year to offset the cost of the lease, Roth said. However, the borough spends about $5,000 each year, in addition to the cost of upkeep and utilities for the museum.

Moving the museum would save the borough money because it pays property taxes on the current museum facility, money it wouldn't have to spend if it moved to the borough-owned Eagle building, borough Manager Barb Krebs said in January.

However the old Eagle station is not without its own costs.

The more than 100-year-old building will need repairs and renovations, which Roth said could be paid for through state and federal grants as well as donations collected by the museum's committee. Also, as the museum expands, the committee may begin to generate revenue by collecting fees, he said.

The committee does not have an estimate of for renovations costs, he said.

"They think all the work will be done with volunteers but we have no sort of figures to guess how much it will actually cost," McLin said after the meeting.

The old Eagle station is currently being used by the borough's public works department for storage of maintenance equipment. Until the equipment is cleared to the new fire department offices in the Tanger building on High Street, the museum will remain in its current location.

Roth said he expects the equipment to be cleared in the late summer or fall.

This article comes to us through a partnership between Hanover Evening Sun and WITF. 

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