Ruskin Firehouse To Transform Into Cultural Center

In an attempt to offer quality programming for all ages, focusing on the arts and education, the South Shore area in Ruskin will begin work on the renovation of a local firehouse, ultimately becoming the Ruskin Firehouse Cultural Center.

Striving to be a multiuse cultural and educational facility for South Shore, the center is currently working with Hillsborough County to get access to a firehouse building, at 101 1st Ave. N.E., east of Highway 41 and Shell Point Road, and on making the location compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"Right now, the building is ADA compliant and up-to-code for a firehouse, but not for a cultural center," says Sandy Council of the Ruskin Community Development Foundation (RCDF), sponsor of the project. "There are some renovations necessary with the change since we'll be using the space to a larger capacity than before, especially with the public access we're expecting -- they didn't really have public access when it was a fire station."

RCDF, a 501c3 nonprofit community organization with a focus on supporting the development of significant community projects, recently submitted a proposal that has been accepted by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC); Council is chairing the Firehouse Advisory Committee that is planning and launching the center.

Currently, RCDF has an estimate of about $70,000 for the renovation of the firehouse into the Cultural Center and is in the process of raising funds. The BOCC has earmarked $100,00 for project renovations.

"I really hope the Firehouse Cultural Center will give access to not just visual arts, but the whole spectrum of the arts that residents haven't really had an opportunity to have access to in the South Shore area," says Council.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Sandy Council, RCDF

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