Friday, May 21, 2010

Firehouse Demolition Celebration

A new firehouse has been built downtown and opened December 2nd 2009 . The Old fire Station 1, (455 South Orange Avenue) is being torn down to make way for the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This new arts Center will just be for The traveling Broadway shows that pass through town. The hall was not set up acoustically for the Orlando Philharmonic. It is possible that no local arts groups will benefit in any way from this new buildings construction.
In the Orlando Weekly I read that there was going to be a Demolition Celebration. I was very curious to see how destruction is celebrated. When I got to the site the first thing I saw was a huge orange flag, much like the flags you might see above a used car lot. Dr. Phillips Arts Center was emblazoned on the flag in white letters. It fluttered quietly in the gentle breeze while across the street creaking moaning and crashing stone and metal could be heard. The fire stations back wall had already been torn down and I could look right through the gutted empty shell. I decided to walk around the block to see the back side of the building where all the demolishing was taking place.
A fire hydrant supplied the water to a hose which was used to water down all the loose dust kicked up b the falling debris. A large green crane was doing all the work by knocking away part of the roof with the large shovel. Periodically a small wildcat would move crumpled metal and place it in a pile. Trees now sporting large X's framed the scene almost like the mouth of a shark. City hall can be seen in the background. The trees will of course also find no home in the new performing centers plans and they will come down as well. The money to build the arts center still doesn't exist. What will be left in this spot will be an empty barren lot surrounded by a fence. It could, and probably will stay that way for many years. I have a strange fascination with these empty lots, usually symbols of some developers folly.
I never did see any celebration. Out with the old, forget the new, we can't afford it.

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Rick said...

It'll be sad to see those beautiful trees go by the wayside. I stumbled across the empty shell of the old firehouse before they started demoing it and went closer to investigate but found a homeless man had set up camp there and I didn't want to disturb him. Wonder where he'll go?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your sentiment. Why wasn't the newly abandoned Amway arena considered for an extensive renovation and use that for a multiple arts venue? Talk about a great opportunity to 'reuse, restore, recycle'.