Community center coming to town

The current Waterloo fire station at 223 N. Main Street.
(Robyn Dexter photo)

As construction of the new Waterloo Fire Department facility forges ahead, another plan is developing for the to-be-vacated fire station on Main Street.

At Monday’s Waterloo City Council meeting, Mayor Tom Smith announced the formation of a committee to look at turning the building into a type of community center once it becomes vacant.

The Waterloo Fire Department has called the current station at 223 North Main Street its home since 1961, renting the roughly 8,000-square-foot building from the city. Work is well under way on a larger new fire station at the site of the former Monroe County Nursing Home, 500 Illinois Avenue.

Smith said this new committee has several ideas for the center and what it could be used for in the future.

Groups such as the Waterloo Municipal Band, Waterloo Cemetery Board, Waterloo Park District and other civic organizations could use the space to meet as needed, he said.

“We’re short on meeting and storage space, so this makes sense,” Smith said.

He said the planning is in very early stages, and they don’t have a timeline just yet.

“Our timeline will depend on what we want to do and what it’ll cost after the fire department moves out,” he said.

The committee is made up of several city officials, including aldermen.

The seven committee members are Rita Trantham, Russ Row, Shawn Kennedy, Russ Thomas, Clyde Heller, Charlie Metzger and Sharon Ebersohl.

The committee plans to meet in early February to possibly do a walk-through of the old firehouse and gather ideas.

They haven’t set any rules or regulations yet, but are currently in a brainstorming phase.

“This is really something Waterloo needs,” Smith said. “I have a feeling a lot of people are going to want to use this space.”

For more information on how to take part in the development of this future community center, call Waterloo City Hall at 939-8600.

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