A historic fire station is slated for a new roof

The Roland Park fire house has sprung a leak, while three police stations have urgent plumbing needs

engine house 44

The Roland Park fire station gets a soaking when it rains.

Photo by: Mark Reutter

The 115-year-old Roland Park fire station, housing Engine 44, may finally get a new roof and other repairs long in the planning stage.

The Board of Estimates this week approved a $250,000 appropriation to replace the station’s slate roof, which is suffering from “significant rain leakage” despite the replacement of cedar shingles around the dormer windows last year.

The station adjoins the Roland Park Shopping Center, considered one of earliest shopping centers in the country. Built in 1899 on Upland Road, the fire station’s curvilinear brick facade is in keeping with the half-timbered gable flourishes of the shopping center around the corner on Roland Avenue.

Long Time Coming

Under a laborious planning process that started in 2007, $62,500 was raised by the Roland Park Civic League. After many delays, the league was allowed to supervise renovations of the station’s first floor.

“The firefighters had very spartan facilities. We installed a new kitchen, TV lounge area and new lockers,” said Kate Culotta, who was the civic league’s secretary. “We came in underbudget and on time,” she added.

A state bond of $110,000 was then secured to renovate the station’s second floor. That’s when a multitude of delays took place at the Department of General Services, resulting in little or no work on the building until leaks discovered in the roof put the brakes on any improvements.

CHAP (the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation) estimated last fall that replacing the roof with new slate would cost $330,000, according to minutes of the civic league. A city contractor said the price was too low.

This week’s appropriation is aimed at getting the competitive bid process moving to start the roof rebuild. Any leftover funds may be spent on bathrooms and the second-floor sleeping area, neither of which is outfitted for female firefighters, according to personnel in the Fire Department.

Police Station Repairs

Also this week, the spending board approved $260,000 to renovate the bathrooms at the Central, Southwestern and Eastern District Police Stations.

The Central District building further needs “immediate improvements” to its backup electric power, which has been failing for several years. “A generator is required to provide immediate electrical service during events when electrical outrages occur,” the board was told.

General Services, which manages the buildings, requested the funds while it completes a study of the physical condition of police facilities.

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  • KnowNothingParty

    Maybe the city fire department could sell roof shingles much the same way bricks were sold on the promenade around the harbor. Pay for a shingle and get your name on the shingle. That way if you find yourself walking on that firehouse roof you could look for your shingle.

    • Steve Grantz


      In all seriousness though, this could work by doing a combo. Actually put together a brick driveway outside, and sell commemorative bricks that also purchase slate for the roof.

  • Walter

    CHAP is running the cost sky high by demanding a new slate roof. The monies saved by replacing the outdated and expensive slate roof with much cheaper asphalt shingles makes more sense. Just shows how the Mayor is pandering to the Roland Park Gucci Yuppies while she is closing Fire Stations in the inner city.

    $330,000.00 of the taxpayer’s money would be better spent on keeping the fire stations open in our poor West Baltimore and Inner City communities. Why should Roland Park eat cake while us poor folks do not even have bread to eat?

    The Mayor is putting this Gucci roof before the safety of our citizens and firefighters in the poorer communities and she and CHAP should be ashamed!

    Lord help them if there is a delayed response, causing a calamity because of cutbacks due to wasting fire department funds on the Gucci Roland Park roof!

  • Walter

    Time to raise property taxes in Roland Park to fund their Christmas Garden Yuppywood- or – If the Roland Park Yuppies want to eat cake – they should have a bake sale and not use City and State taxpayer funds that are sorely needed to keep fire stations operating in the poorer Baltimore communities!

    They closed the beautiful Beaux Arts firehouse on Calvert St because of the high cost of it’s upkeep. The Roland Park firehouse looks like a bar in a travel poster of Aruba and does not even blend in with the faux Tudor shopping strip! Maybe the Mayor can sell off the firehouse to developers like they did with the Calvert St. station? The firefighters call the Roland Park station CLUB ARUBA – so maybe a nice with Caribbean bar or a Chicken and Lake Trout outlet? Eddies does not sell Lake Trout so it figures that Club Aruba will do well.

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