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Efforts underway to restore local historic landmark

NOW: Efforts underway to restore local historic landmark

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Neighbors who live in South Bend’s northeast neighborhood say a local historic landmark needs some repairs to continue to serve the area.

Built in 1904, Firehouse No. 7, which sits at the corner of South Bend and Notre Dame Ave., holds 115 years of the city’s history.

However, the building is starting to show its age.

“It needs some help,” said Historic Firehouse No. 7 Campaign Coordinator Elizabeth Leechman. “It needs some safety upgrades, it needs some landscaping upgrades, it needs new concrete, it needs new siding, it needs a new roof. Just a lot of small things that have added up to a large project.”

Leechman is one of many people working alongside the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization to restore the firehouse. The efforts started last summer.

“Literally knocking on the doors with neighbors, talking with them,” said Leechman.

But the group says it’s now time to expand their efforts. They’re putting up signs all across town in hopes of engaging the community’s support and raising $250,000.

“We want people to see it and say, ‘Wow what an incredible building!’ and know that it’s part of the history of this neighborhood,” said Leechman. “We really just want to make it just a beautiful entrance.”

Through grants and community donations, NNRO has already raised roughly $110,000.

Leechman says that’s enough to pay for a few vital repairs that keep the building’s top floor tenant, a law firm, and the Northeast Neighborhood Council, which hosts community meetings and events and a food pantry on the lower level, in operation.

“It’s going to be an incredible, welcoming historic building for all those people in the neighborhood,” said Leechman.

Leechman says Historic Firehouse No. 7 wants to add more than a few extra years of life.

“It’s going to help solidify and stabilize the rest of this neighborhood,” said Leechman.

They hope to build value and allow people to slow down and admire this neighborhood’s future.

“It’s going to be a staple for community space,” said Leechman. “It’s been standing for 115 years, so it’s going to stand for another 115 years.”

Leechman says Historic Firehouse No. 7 hopes start construction this summer and wrap up next sometime next spring or summer.

If you would like to learn more about the plans or donate, click here.

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