For the second time in little more than two years, Red Bank is looking to unload a firehouse.
On Wednesday night, without discussion, the council unanimously agreed to put the home of the Independent Engine Company, at 32 Mechanic Street opposite Globe Court, up for sealed-bid auction on August 30.
As with its lookalike at 40 White Street — the former home of Liberty Hose, which was sold at auction for $400,000 in 2014 — the Independent stationhouse is more than a century old and in need of costly repairs, Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen.
Moreover, the town’s six free-standing volunteer fire companies and first aid squad have been under pressure from Menna to consolidate. Discussions and planning toward that end have been underway for several years, and Fire Chief Soden told redbankgreen recently that the department is close to submitting a consolidation plan to the borough council for review and possible adoption.
Meantime, the Liberty Hose crew is sharing space with the First Aid and Rescue Squad, which owns its building on Spring Street.
If the Independent sale goes through, the borough would be left owning just one firehouse: the Relief Company’s home on Drummond Place, attached to the former borough hall and police station at 51 Monmouth Street. The Union Hose on Leighton Avenue, Westside Hose on Shrewsbury Avenue and Navesink Hook & Ladders — just doors away from Independent, at 7-9 Mechanic Street — each own their home structures.
Information about where the Independent crew would set up house was not immediately available.
The sale resolution does not specify a minimum bid, but Menna said the council is free to reject a bid deemed insufficient.
A first attempt to sell the Liberty Hose house at a minimum $475,000 failed to attract any bids. A month later, when then auction was reopened at a new minimum of $400,000, the family of Michael Morgan, owners of a handful of downtown buildings, was the only taker.
The Morgans won approval in May to create stores and apartments in the structure, though construction has not begun.
Here’s the resolution authorizing the Independent sale: RB Resolution 16-216