A.C. could be in line for largest grant ever from N.J. Historic Trust

Atlantic City's boardwalk. ­

The Atlantic City Fire Department has been recommended for a $750,000 preservation grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust to preserve the firehouse at the corner of Indiana and Baltic avenues, Mayor Marty Small Sr. announced Tuesday.

The grant recommendation, which has been approved by the New Jersey Historic Trust board, will be presented to the Garden State Preservation Trust at its next meeting and requires a legislative appropriations bill and Gov. Phil Murphy’s approval before funds are made available to the recipient.

It would be the largest grant awarded by the New Jersey Historic Trust.

Small hopes it comes.

“We’re excited to work with the New Jersey Historic Trust on the preservation of the Indiana Avenue Fire House,” he said. “This grant will provide the funding needed for the building envelope and structural rehabilitation of this historic building.”

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said the grants have impact.

“Grants through New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund help applicants honor, preserve and restore irreplaceable landmarks, which serve as a voice for historic preservation in New Jersey,” she said.

The firehouse is architecturally significant, with a two-story base and a prominent tower rising four additional floors in the Romanesque Revival style, which was common in the early 20th century. The design was originally intended to accommodate horse-drawn fire engines and the original stable building remains on property today.

“This building has a lot of history and is extremely significant to the Fire Service,” said Atlantic City Fire Chief Scott Evans. “The building currently houses the Water Rescue Unit, Special Operations Unit and the Training Division, along with Engine 2 and Rescue 1. I’m excited to work on the rehabilitation and waterproofing of this station.”

The grant application, prepared by the Atlantic City Preservation Commission, was a funding opportunity awarded to the city after becoming New Jersey’s newest Certified Local Government in February 2020. The city’s designation as a CLG provides the commission with enhanced technical grant writing assistance and the opportunity to apply for preservation planning grants.

The commission was established to promote historic preservation in the city. Atlantic City currently has eight sites on the state’s Register of Historic Places and 24 additional buildings that have been deemed eligible for inclusion. The city’s master plan lists an additional 30 sites to be considered in the future.

Commission members include:

  • Chairperson Carol Ruffu, president of the Chelsea Neighborhood Association;
  • Vice President Sonny Ireland, a member of the Ducktown Community Development Corp.;
  • Tom Sykes, a local architect;
  • Heather Halpin Perez, librarian and university archivist at Stockton University;
  • Anthony Vraim, Atlantic City zoning board member;
  • Joyce Hegan, director of the Atlantic City Arts Foundation;
  • Jean Muchanic, director of the Absecon Lighthouse;
  • Ralph Hunter, president of the African American Heritage Museum;
  • Libby Wells, president of the First Ward Civic Association.