According to a report from Your Sun, a new fire/police dual-purpose facility and a special exhibit featuring a restored 1946 Seagrave Open Cab Pumper will be two of the main attractions when the new Wellen Park public safety building opens within the next year.
The $13 million, 24-000-square-foot police and fire substation will feature a four-bay fire station as well as separate spaces for police crews, fire inspectors, and a fire prevention bureau. Sarasota County will also house emergency equipment there.
In the next decade, North Port will open more firehouses and add to its 130-person roster.
When the substation finally goes into service, the vintage Seagrave fire truck will be on display in a side room. Purchased in May 2013 by the North Port Honor Guard, the vehicle will be illuminated at night as a sort of welcoming symbol to North Port. Fully restored, but featuring bench seating for parades and memorials, it will eventually be able to demo its original functions when it’s ready to go on display.
Richard Yarnall, commander with the North Port Honor Guard spotting the vehicle in a backyard, faded to pink, and decades past its prime. Its North Port owner wanted the pumper restored. Yarnall and his associates convinced the man to sell the pumper to them for $1,500, and then donated it to the city.
The Model 170 pumping engine, which was delivered in July 1945 to a fire unit in Drew, Mississippi, was then restored by PRIDE Enterprises, a not-for-profit corporation providing trade skills to prisoners in 20 state correctional units since 1981. Inmates with a heavy equipment division stripped the pumper, restored its frame and body and tooled parts as needed, which took two years. The $40,000 restoration fee came from Honor Guard fundraisers and the city.
It was an eight-year process to restore the Seagrave pumper, which was sold in 1945 by Harry Corneil from his office at the Robert E. Lee Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi, and to find it a secure home for public viewing in Wellen Park.