NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A piece of history, or a dangerous eyesore? It's a question that could ultimately decide the fate of an East Nashville fire hall, that's more than 80 years old.
The building at 1220 Gallatin Avenue was built in 1930, and is on the Metro Historical Commission's list of historic landmarks.
It's been vacant since 1989.
"This building right now is a serious fire hazard," said East Nashville resident George Jackson. "It's just that bad, and really, it's a health hazard too."
Several times a week, Jackson spends a few hours picking up trash near the now boarded-up fire hall. Sometimes, he says, he's disgusted by what he finds.
"Needles, syringes, just godforsaken stuff," he said. "It's got vagrants, and not only that, it has rats, bugs, termite infestations. And as soon as you put a board up, in a few days a homeless person takes the board down and goes in there."
When Wal-mart purchased the property in 2004, the company donated the building to a non-profit that was supposed to restore it, but that never happened.
Then in December 2011, a homeless person started a fire inside the 82-year-old building. That prompted Metro Codes to issue a demolition order.
"It's when the building just sits there and no one's looking after it, that's when it invites trouble," said Bill Penn with Metro Codes. 'So we really want either the building to be demolished or ultimately, it could be restored, but something really needs to happen."
The fire in 2011 also prompted Wal-Mart to sue the non-profit, for failing to uphold its end of the bargain.
That non-profit is called NEON, or North Edgefield Organized Neighbors, and it is run by former Metro Councilwoman Pam Murray.
On Thursday, she told News Channel 5 she is moving forward with plans to turn the fire hall into a cultural arts center. Her attorney says they will be "vigorously defending" NEON's right to the property.
Penn says Metro Codes will not tear down the building until that legal dispute over the rightful owner is resolved.
"We're just sort of waiting for the dust to settle, to see who we're going to be dealing with," said Penn.
A court hearing for that lawsuit has not yet been set.
Residents like George Jackson know the legal battle could last for years, and worry the building, and their neighborhood, won't survive it.
That's why the Metro Historical Commission is working very closely with Wal-Mart, to find another non-profit to step in and save the building.