Petition aims to save historic Huntington firehouse

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HUNTINGTON -

A petition has been created to save a historic firehouse in Huntington Village that's in jeopardy of being destroyed.

The establishment, located on Main Street, could be demolished as part of a plan to create a housing complex downtown.

Michael Coyne, of the "Citizens of Huntington Village," created the petition and says it got more than 1,000 signatures in five days.

"We really want this building to be preserved, it's part of our history," he says. "It's located among other historic buildings."

As News 12 has reported, the plan involves replacing a strip of shops on Main Street with 84 luxury apartments and a parking garage. Developers say it will boost the economy, but opponents say the area is already too congested and they are worried the historic appeal will be lost with the new development.

The building in question served as a firehouse from 1911 to 1958 and has been a furniture store since the early 1960s. The Citizens of Huntington Village created the petition with the goal of saving the firehouse.

In a statement Developer John Kean, with Kean Development, said, "The historic board brought a petition to the Town Board, which is the governing body, to decide as to whether or not this building should be designated historic. The town board did not decide to designate it historic, therefore we are not obligated to preserve it. We did, however - on our own accord - decide to preserve the façade of the firehouse and went to great lengths to look at historical references of the original firehouse and have our architects draw an exact replica so that we could take the components from the original firehouse that are left and incorporate them in our new building."

Kean said the finished product will "be identical to the original firehouse."

He also said that both he and Alan Fromkin, the building's owner, "are lifelong residents of Huntington and have only the utmost concern for the beauty of our community and the future of our community. Neither of us would ever contemplate doing a project that would not preserve the beauty of our town or the historic quality of our town. The firehouse that currently exists has no resemblance of what was once there. We both believe the project that we proposed is more in keeping with the history of the community which we both so dearly care about."

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