Franklin - The city's main firehouse on Drexel Avenue could be the winner of a new kitchen makeover worth $25,000.
The firehouse is one of five finalists in a second-year contest held by home furnishings retailer IKEA and Family Handyman magazine published by Reader's Digest.
The contest will be decided by a popular vote online that began Feb. 15 and ends March 30. Voters will be able to see photos and other information for each finalist.
Battalion Chief Ron Mayer said it was the second year the department applied for the makeover.
"We did not get in the final five last year," Mayer said. "We worked harder on the application this time."
The makeover is meant as a way to give back to worthy groups such as firehouses, Boys & Girls Clubs and soup kitchens. Nominations were accepted through Dec. 15.
Entries must explain in 500 words or less how the renovation will benefit the community and the local organization as well as describe what makes the group truly deserving.
Reason to participate
Mayer said Franklin's entry included photographs of the kitchen needs, which he said include views of outdated appliances, cabinets and more.
"The kitchen here was installed in 1989," Mayer said. "It's probably the worst part of the station. The laminate cabinets and the appliances are in rough shape. The stove is about 12 years old and the refrigerator has died a couple of times. The wallpaper is dated and dirty."
Mayer said the kitchen is a good size, so no expansion would be needed. He said the department would welcome better cabinets and more storage as part of a makeover.
While the firehouse kitchen gets a lot of use for about 10 people at any one time on a 24-7 basis, the facility also is available and visible to the public. The most notable examples are tours for schools, scout and other youth group tours.
"We also make the firehouse available for nonprofits who want to make a raffle or auction off a tour of the facility or an opportunity to sit down and have a meal with the department personnel.
The department also has used the facility for its own fundraisers, such as a spaghetti dinner to help fund a local burn camp.
"It does get a little embarrassing to do that," Mayer said. "We have had to rotate the tours."
Critical support exists
What is not embarrassing and always appreciated, he noted, is that the department has received the necessary budget support for the critical parts of its operation, including equipment and training.
"When we have had a need for a vehicle, another piece of equipment or anything else critical to firefighting, the city has funded that," he said. "So that's another way to look at it."
With the long shifts and large groups using the firehouse kitchen, Mayer said a kitchen makeover would be an appreciated new amenity. He said he hopes the community and other interested parties will help make that happen.
WHEN:Through March 30
RULES:One vote per e-mail
PRIZE: $25,000 makeover
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