DUBUQUE, Iowa - It's been said, "if these walls could talk." But inside the newly renovated fire station, the fire pole might have a few things to say.
Leo Hickie said, "It's the engine house number one. It's the very first fire station established in the state of Iowa."
The old station was more recently home to the city's housing department, but it sat vacant for several years. Now crews put the finishing touches on the project that's expected to create momentum.
Hickie said, "It really is the starting point for getting the development going for the whole Central Avenue Corridor here. "
The DB&T Community Development Corporation owns the building. That's a division of Dubuque Bank and Trust.
The nearby bank says they have a vested interest in improving this area.
Hickie said, "It's where we come to work everyday. It's where a lot of our employees live, in the Washington Neighborhood. "
Hickie says several buildings in the area are rundown, and businesses have moved away. He says that's a bad first impression.
Hickie said, "not only is this Central Avenue for the City of Dubuque. It's U.S. Highway 52. So this gets a tremendous amount of traffic that goes by this building every single day. "
Developers believe there's a lot of potential in the store fronts of these old buildings.
If only, those walls could talk.
Operation New View's "Head Start" program will move into the ground floor of the fire station.
Upstairs the Crescent Community Health Center will open a wellness center.