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CHICAGO-Few disagree that a 5,000-sf firehouse in the Pullman neighborhood on the far South Side, vacant since 1957, is a structure worth saving. However, control over a $2-million purse won largely through the efforts of a resident of the area bogged down the project when it came before the community development commission.

Lyn Hughes and her friends and neighbors pleaded with the commission to allow her North Pullman Development Corp. be involved in converting the structure into a museum honoring train conductors. Hughes led an effort to win $2 million in state funding to pay for the project, but city officials argue the local group is not equipped to handle an extensive rehabilitation and renovation of the building at 601-27 E. 108th St. Instead, the city plans to issue a request for proposals to stabilize the property as well as operate it as a museum.

“This has been an eyesore in the community for a very long time,” says 19th Ward Alderman Virginia A. Rugai. “We’re concerned this building will not last another Chicago winter.”

The landmarks division of the department had considered expanding the building to 8,000 sf, but now questions whether that plan is feasible in a $2-million budget.

The community development commission opted with the department of planning and development’s suggestion to issue a request for proposals.

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