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More ideas bubble to the surface for Langley’s old fire hall

There’s renewed interest in Langley’s vacant fire station.

Three new proposals and a recycled one are being considered by city staff.

New ideas include a fitness and boxing center, an expanded Whidbey Island Soap Company and a local artisan marketplace.

Back for consideration is a fine-arts-center proposal by owners of a similar operation in Fall City in east King County.

Mayor Paul Samuelson said the proposals are being reviewed by city staff, and that talks with the interested parties will continue.

“We remain committed to do the right thing in that space according to the direction we want the community to go,” Samuelson said Thursday.

The 3,090-square-foot fire station became surplus when Island County Fire District 3 moved to its new $1.5 million station on Camano Avenue.

The old fire hall, on Second Street, features two vehicle bays, offices, kitchen, bathrooms and storage areas. The city has been seeking a commitment of $2,500 a month from a new tenant.

Owners of Langley’s Chocolate Flower Farm were close to signing a lease late last year, but withdrew when the economy turned sour. However, the company continues to show interest in at least a portion of the building, said Larry Cort, city planning director.

One new proposal comes from Dakota Stone of Langley, a world-ranked professional boxer for the past 10 years and a certified boxing trainer. He wants to install a boxing gym and fitness center in the fire hall.

“I believe the city needs a non-retail business there, something that will bring people into the city,” he said in his proposal letter. He said the facility also would give the community’s youths something to do after school.

He proposes to start small, renting the back bay for $500 for after-school programs, adult classes and personal training while continuing to try to secure financing to expand into the entire building, if it remains available.

Meanwhile, Kimberly and David Tiller propose to lease part of the building to expand their Whidbey Island Soap Company, which has been doing business on First Street since 2002.

They would use the space to make their soaps, lotions and other gifts, tasks they are currently doing in Clinton. They also propose a gift shop, tea shop, classroom and mild-weather outdoor tea garden.

“It has always been our desire to bring our studio to Langley, but until now there has been no property available to accommodate both,” the Tillers said in their proposal letter.

In a third suggestion, Emi Morgan envisions a local artisan marketplace for locally grown and produced goods.

“The benefits of eating locally have increased along with demand for fresh and delicious products,” Morgan’s proposal letter said. “It’s an opportunity to position Langley as the food connoisseur’s destination.”

The plan envisions a marketplace operating one day a week to start, a commons area in front of the station, and booth expansion if necessary in the side alleyway.

Back with a revised proposal is Cary Jurriaans, owner of Fall City Fine Art Studio.

She offered to do substantial remodeling of the fire hall to accommodate studio space, a workshop and a gallery for participating artists.

Jurriaans said the gallery would showcase studio participants along with visiting painters, sculptors and artists.

The South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District also has inquired about sharing space in the fire hall one night per week, Cort said. Other parties have also expressed an interest, but no firm proposals have surfaced.

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