Glass blowers have warm feelings for Langley fire station

A pair of glass artists have a hot new idea for Langley’s vacant fire station on Second Street.

Callahan McVay of Clinton and Bob Mitchell of Tulalip want to use part of the station for a glass-blowing “hot shop” and gallery.

They suggest glass-blowing demonstrations in which the public could participate, along with classes and workshops.

“Glass blowing is mesmerizing for people to see,” McVay told the Langley City Council at its meeting Monday night. “This would be a great draw.”

He said the fire station is ideal for such an activity.

“It’s fireproof, and the gas and power are already there,” McVay said.

He and Mitchell said the concept has worked well in other areas it has been tried. They said they could partner with other businesses in the city to offer package deals to attract out-of-towners who would come for a couple days or a week.

“Big groups would be naturally drawn to this,” Mitchell said.

They said a gallery would be included, creating sales-tax revenues for the city, but the primary attraction would be the glass-blowing experience.

McVay said the operation could be up and running in a month, “to capture the summer season.” He also indicated that the pair would pay rent, perhaps in combination with another tenant using other parts of the building.

The city seeks $2,500 a month for the space, but most of the other proposals have requested flexibility on the rent issue in exchange for long-term economic benefit.

“I’ll tell you what I’ve told all the other people with good ideas for the fire station,” Councilman Robert Gilman told the pair. “Even if you’re not in the fire hall, we want you in Langley.”

Other proposals for the station include an art school, children’s waterworks, a fitness and boxing center, an expanded Whidbey Island Soap Company, a local artisan marketplace and a fine-arts center. Owners of the Chocolate Flower Farm also remain interested.

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