Firehouse demolition to make way for community center

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A community youth center in Allison Hill is expanding. To make room, the firehouse which currently houses the center will be demolished. 

“We’re fireproofing lives, both of kids and adults, and that is what we really believe,” said Scott Dunwoody, the executive director of Bethesda Mission.

It’s a fitting slogan for a community center that has been operating out of the former Shamrock Firehouse for the past 30 years, offering resources to nearly 75 kids.

The expansion will allow both kids and adults to benefit from the center. In the early 2000s,  Bethesda Mission realized the 111-year-old space was not holding up and becoming costly to maintain. 

“We were struggling with the building, with HVAC systems, just the functionality of the way the building is laid out,” said Dunwoody. 

The city council on Tuesday unanimously approved the demolition of the long-standing Allison Hill structure. Bethesda Mission officials already put plans in place to create an authentic replication of the front of the firehouse with new materials. 

“While it is not on the national or state registry of historical places, it has local historic significance,” Dunwoody said.

The expansion has already begun at the property next door and will feature a new gym, multi-purpose room and computer lab. After the demolition of the firehouse, the space will be used primarily for elementary age kids and a new kitchen to service the entire complex. 

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