NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 4, 2013

Selectman proposes changes to CPC

(Continued)

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Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Town Administrator Tracy Blais told selectmen she had heard from some residents, and even a few town officials, expressing surprise over a recent article in the Daily News about the results of a feasibility study to identify and offer possible solutions for space and programming needs within the public safety departments and Town Hall.

This is not a new issue, Blais said, noting that the results of an initial study of problems with the current police station was presented by the CPC at the Annual Town Meeting back in 2012 and the topic has been discussed numerous times at public meetings, including the Board of Selectmen, over the last year.

The CPC report, dated May 8, 2012, offers a detailed look into the Police Department’s shortcomings and needs. Five steps to address the needs are recommended; a sample estimate of $3.14 million for a new police station is provided; and a variety of possible sites to consider for development are mentioned.

With a recommendation from the Site Selection Committee, the Public Safety Complex Committee is now investigating the possibility of a $10.5 million project that would solve space and programming issues in the police, fire, and emergency management departments and also improve operations at the Town Hall.

A preliminary building assessment analysis issued last month by CSS Architects, Inc. and MacRitchie Engineering, Inc. provides a conceptual design for the proposed plan that brings the town’s public safety functions under one roof by building a 21,500 square foot complex on two parcels currently owned by Protection Fire Company No. 2. The basement of the Town Hall, which currently houses the police department, would then be revamped to accommodate space needs for other departments.

Voters at Town Meeting next May could be asked to take the next step by funding design services for a potential project. But the planning committee intends to hold informational workshops for the public next spring prior to any vote.

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