RUMFORD – Two possible sites for the town’s new fire
station are the current snow dump off Rumford Avenue and other town-owned land
by the Public Works garage.

However, at Thursday night’s Board of
Selectmen meeting, interim Public Safety Director Stacy Carter argued that
response times for downtown Rumford would be better if the snow dump land were
used.

Providing an update to the board, Carter, a member of the Fire
Department Building Committee, suggested that selectmen pick a site and get the
project ready to go to better his chances of getting a $2.5 million to $3
million federal grant to build the station.

“They’re looking for a
project that’s ready to go, to start very quickly,” Carter said. “So, if the
town has the land and has started the permit process, those are the ones that
are likely to get the grant.”

The deadline to submit the application is
July 10.

Back in 2001, when former fire Chief John Woulfe III floated the
idea for a new station, it was proposed to be sited where the old tennis courts
are, just down from the snow dump.

However, Rumford paper mill NewPage
Corp. owns that side and uses it for extra parking.

“Because Chief Woulfe
put together a project back in 2001, we’re not in bad standing, but the biggest
thing now is to find a piece of land to put this on,” Carter said.

He
said he spoke with Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell and learned that a
new fire station could fit where the town dumps snow.

“They will still be
able to use a large portion of that land to the right to dump snow,” Carter
said. “It would be very adequate at providing a good response time and we don’t
have the issue we have now with one-way streets.”

Carter asked the board
to think it over and put the matter on the board’s agenda for its next meeting
in two weeks.

“We’d like to know if we’re not successful in getting the
grant – we still have the need for a fire station and getting the equipment
under one roof – is the town willing to put any money into this and to allow us
to move forward with permits?” Carter asked.

Responding to a question
from Selectman Greg Buccina, Carter said the grant stipulates that it can only
be used for a fire station. However, the new station would be structured so that
other emergency services buildings could be added should the town decide to
regionalize with neighboring towns.

“The grant is strictly for a fire
station,” Carter said. “Any other use, like police, public safety or EMS would
have to be paid by taxpayers.”

Selectman Robert Cameron said he supports
the concept of a new fire station but would rather see it located away from the
downtown area.

“There’s 13 miles on the other end of the community and
you keep moving toward Mexico and our taxpayers are not comfortable with that,”
Cameron said. “And, I’m not happy with (the snow dump lot’s) proximity to the
flood plain.”

“In my opinion, the closer we are to the built-up area, the
better our response times,” Carter said.

Additionally, Carter said the
committee didn’t want to site a new fire station farther away from the downtown
where it would be isolated in major flooding from the Androscoggin
River.

Buccina, Cameron and Chairman Brad Adley urged the board not to
wait until the last minute.

“We desperately need a new fire station,”
Cameron said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.