New Sharon considers fire department options

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NEW SHARON — A small group of residents gathered Wednesday for a short public meeting to begin developing a plan for a new fire station.

While Selectmen were waiting on results of a survey of the town office property, an old school inherited from RSU 9, those attending were receptive to the need for formulating a plan but they questioned the use of the building. Several favored a Route 2 location for a new station. They also agreed to the idea of a feasibility study.

During the March town meeting, a small group of voters amended an article to raise $10,000 to make another payment on funds borrowed from the town’s “Fire Station Reserve Fund.” They amended the amount to $20,000 with the idea of hiring an architect and either building a station or revamping the town office to include the station.

The Board of Selectmen requested the meeting to include more residents in the discussion. Members had hoped to have the results of a survey of the property which “needed to be done regardless,” said Selectman Larry Donald.

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“We need to know the exact boundaries and right of ways,” he said in regard to the Congregational Church buildings abutting the property to be sure what the church owns and what the town owns.

With fire equipment vehicles getting longer and taller, Fire Chief Jeff Brackett told the gathering the department would like a building large enough to contain equipment with an office and training room on the side. They are also looking for “room for growth,” he said.

The last vehicle purchased by the town had to be rebuilt to fit the present station. Some vehicles including a snowmobile rescue sled are stored at private homes. The present station means driving on to Route 2 at a busy intersection where visibility of traffic west-bound over the bridge is difficult.

Brackett has contacted an architectural and engineering firm looking for development of a concept drawing.

While Donald expressed the belief that adding the fire department at the town-owned building, if possible, would eliminate the expense of buying Route 2 property, a discussion of possible sites on Route 2 that might be available for sale was held.

In suggesting a feasibility study, Code Enforcement Officer Jim Fleming felt it was “better to know before getting in too deep,” he also agreed to help look for potential grant funding for the project.

The group decided to wait for more information and agreed to meet at 6 p.m. on June 9 at the town office.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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