NEAL P. GOSWAMI
BENNINGTON -- The Vermont Department of Public Safety is searching for land between Bennington and Sunderland for a new state police barracks as part of a feasibility study requested by the Legislature.
Allen Palmer of the Department of Buildings and General Services said the state is seeking 6 to 10 acres of land between Bennington and Sunderland along the Route 7 corridor. The land would ideally have easy access to Route 7 and Route 7A. The state is seeking responses by Aug. 9.
A similar search for land is taking place throughout the state for other VSP locations. Vermont State Police Maj. William Sheets said DPS is searching for sites as it looks to develop a plan to replace or consolidate 12 main VSP barracks and two smaller substations. A report from DPS is due back to the Legislature on Jan. 15.
Sheets said four barracks -- Derby, New Haven, St. Albans and Royalton -- have already been replaced. DPS has since been focusing on consolidation.
"In the last couple of years Š we really have been focusing on which offices we think we could consolidate to improve efficiencies, have less of a footprint," Sheets said.
Consolidation of the Brattleboro and Rockingham barracks is likely to be next, according to Sheets. He said that project was funded by the Legislature until issues developed that presented a closing on a land deal. That money is not available until the 2014 fiscal year, if the land issues are resolved.
Sheets said DPS is also looking at consolidating the Bradford an St. Johnsbury barracks.
The four remaining barracks -- Williston, Middlesex, Rutland and Shaftsbury are likely to remain by themselves. Officials will look to prioritize after receiving land proposals, Sheets said.
"At the end of the day, we have to kind of get together with the upper command staff Š along with Buildings and General Services and prioritize," he said. "We know that this is going to take a very long time. If you’re not at or near the top of the list it’s going to take a decade or better."
DPS will hold community meetings in each location to inform the community of plans, according to Sheets.