New Fire Station Gets Green Light
Voters appropriated funding at Monday night's special town meeting.
Westborough is getting a new fire station, although some residents question the project's size.
Voters at Monday night's special town meeting appropriated $11,208,000 to design and construct the facility next to the current Milk Street facility, which will be demolished.
The measure passed, 233 to 96. A two-thirds majority was required for approval because the request involved borrowing, Town Moderator Joe Harrington said. The Westborough Municipal Building Committee proposed borrowing $10,008,000, and appropriating $1,200,000 from free cash.
The funding mechanism changed since the spring, when voters rejected the $11,208,000 debt exclusion request at the May 15 special town election, 912-672. That outcome nullifed a March 17 special town meeting vote supporting the project.
"We're doing this the way you asked us to the last time we came before you," municipal building committee Chairman Bob Brown said.
Voters adjourned Monday night's town meeting around 10:23 p.m. after passing Police Chief Alan Gordon's proposed bylaw amendment allowing deer hunting on public property by bow and arrow.
Town meeting resumes at 7 tonight in the high school auditorium. Articles 16 through 29 are left. Article 16 is a proposed sewer regulations amendment regarding fixtures installed in basements. Article 29 seeks approval to extend the town's lease with the Explorer Post 85 Emergency Services Squad for space behind the Forbes Municipal Building. The planning board's proposed zoning amendment creating a new section addressing large-scale, ground-mounted photovoltaic installations also faces discussion tonight.
The fire station funding request was the most heavily debated one Monday night.
Whether Westborough needs a new station and, if so, what should be in it were discussed quite a but.
Town Manager Jim Malloy said the current station is about 14,000 square feet, about half the size of the new one; the current station twice has been deemed structurally unsound; and the current station does not comply with current building codes, and lacks an elevator.
But, resident Vincent Borkowski said the design includes a conference room that would "rival any Fortune 500" company.
"We need to scale projects back," Borkowski said.
Brown said the town lacks final design plans, which Monday night's appropriation funded.
"If we can do it for less, we're going to do it for less," Brown said.
Resident Paula Less said the design that voters saw Monday night doesn't account for growth.
"There's no bay for repairs, future growth," Less said.
"If we have to buy a new fire truck, where are you going to put it?"
Architect Brian Humes said additional bays aren't visible on the drawing.
"It's a building that's going to last 50-plus years," Humes said.