WACO, Texas — A new Waco fire station opened its doors for the first time on Wednesday night in place of the historic 25th Street Theater.
The city demolished the theater, located at 1006 N. 25th St., in 2019 after originally opening its doors in 1945. It later became a nightclub until it officially closed in 1992.
The city originally wanted to keep the original structure of the theater, but later decided to completely reconstruct it. In May 2020, the city council authorized about $4.8 million for the station's construction.
The new station will replace the old Waco Fire Station No. 6, previously located on Bosque Boulevard. It will also serve as a community center and as the new home for the Waco Fire Department administration.
Hundreds attended the station's opening, which included ribbon-cutting, food trucks, a tour, and a movie screening. Community members celebrated the city's commitment to keeping the look of the old theater alive.
Dale Fisseler, former Waco city manager, said the theater had a special meeting for him and his wife, Linda.
"I just happened to have my first date there with her 49 years ago, and it was such a good date, we ended up getting married," Fisseler said.
Waco fire chief Gregory Summers said the space is also a serious improvement for public and firefighter safety.
"We're gonna be able to get out of the firehouse a lot quicker. We've got quick access to 26th Street, 25th Street. So we can get out a lot quicker than we have before," Summers said.
The building includes the original sign, refurbished and with the word "theater" replaced with "station".
Community members hope the brand new station is a step towards revitalizing the 25th Street corridor and bringing back business and life to the area.