A former auto dealership that had become a prominent eyesore on Darien’s main street is now a fire station with a new exterior and new types of vehicles inside.
The building that housed — in succession — Ford dealers O.C. Welch, Lilliston and Mike Murphy, had become run down and its plate glass windows had become targets for vandals. In the past four years, the city has been slowly transforming the building to house public safety, and the city’s fire trucks are inside the big service bays ready to roll on calls, said Capt. Allen Frederick of the city’s volunteer fire department.
Frederick said the building has all the room the department needs for its two engines, two ladder trucks, a brush truck and a rescue boat.
City Manager Brett Cook said he doesn’t really know the cost that he has spread over four budgets and there’s work left to do renovating the offices.
The exterior, however, is done with just a little landscaping left, he said.
Cook put the job in the hands of Clay Davis, owner of Prideworks Construction who tries to bring out character in buildings. Davis has said his goal is to make structures attractive so visitors will linger downtown.
Last year, for example, he stripped away the faux tabby and other layers on the county courthouse, also on U.S. 17, to reveal some of the 1930s masonry.
Davis has done the opposite with the dealership, tearing away the original and replacing it with stucco.
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