Greendale — The historic Hose Tower in the heart of Greendale could get new life as a community center.
The Greendale Historical Society is leading efforts to renovate the tower and adjacent 2,200-square-foot facility, a complex that has sat vacant for some time.
The Hose Tower, noted for its red-brick architecture, once stored and dried the Fire Department's canvas and cotton hoses. The building was constructed in 1939 next to the old police and fire station, 6600 Schoolway.
Historical Society President Ted Mainella and others feel it is an important part of the history of Greendale, one of three Greenbelt communities built during the Great Depression.
"We feel it's an important building," Mainella said. "It's sat empty for a long time. People in Greendale want this building preserved and we want to turn it into something the whole community could use."
He noted that Greendale Middle School was once a community center, and renovating the Hose Tower into a gathering place would stay "true to the tradition of Greendale."
Many groups - including as Cub Scouts, the Greendale Woman's Club or senior citizen organizations - now mostly meet in the basement of the Greendale Public Library, Mainella said.
"It's a good space but not totally adequate for many groups," he said.
The Historical Society wants to work closely with the village, school district, business community and residents to make the community center idea a reality, Mainella said.
The Historical Society has hired an architect and already spent about $60,000 making improvements to the building.
The society's goal is to raise $500,000 and complete work by the village's 75th anniversary celebration in 2013. Fundraising has been ongoing for a few years.
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