Potential Wilmington Fire Department site identified


WILMINGTON -- The BreadLoaf Corporation determined that while the old Town Garage site would not be suitable for housing both the police and fire departments, it could be a good fit for the Wilmington Fire Department alone.

"The next step is to see if we have enough funding, (left over) from the excess funding from the grant, to see if that site is suitable to build a fire department on," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy. "There was some question as to size and capability."

It was noted that the fire department would need a fifth bay for its vehicles. There was also discussion based around having an elevator installed to get to the second story in the potential site.

Following the presentation from BreadLoaf on July 2, Murphy will be finding out whether the money leftover from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding can be applied to the next step, which is seeing if it is feasible for the fire department to move its operations there. Murphy believes there is about $50,000 left in the planning grant. BreadLoaf, a company specializing in architecture, planning and construction, was hired to see what sites, if any, could house both departments.

The initial options presented in February included the Green Mountain Power building on Haystack Road, the former WW Supply building on West Main Street, the former Town Garage on Beaver Street and a Route 100 South site near the Deerfield Valley Health Center. It was determined then that the fire department would need at least 10,500 square feet for its operations while the police department would need about half that space.

The former Town Garage building was demolished in early May. If that site proves to be feasible for the fire department, then another phase would be initiated.

"That would end this (grant work) then we’d have to find other sources for the design and construction of the site moving forward," Murphy said.

"If it comes back that we can somehow fit the fire department with all the requirements they’d like on that site, then we’d come to another crossroads: Do the Selectboard and the voters wish to move forward and wish to pursue an RFP (request for proposals) for a design construction project? That would be a big hurdle."

Police Chief Joe Szarejko and Fire Chief Ken March were active with feedback throughout the study. The police department gave its input before the presentation, Murphy told the Reformer.

"They understand they need a place out of the flood zone and the town wants to keep them in the downtown because police presence is always an effective tool for policing. But where? We don’t know," he said. "That hasn’t been addressed yet."


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