Randolph Fire Chief Ron Cunningham discusses the lack of space Tuesday at the current station at 250 Water St. The town is on track to receive federal funding that would cover the bulk of the cost of building a new fire station with more space for vehicles and room for training. Ashley Allen/Kennebec Journal

RANDOLPH — The town of Randolph is on track to receive $2.6 million from the federal government to build a new fire station and expand its emergency services following eight years of project delays. 

The money for Randolph’s new fire station is part of $13.8 million recently secured by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for other fire stations and emergency service stations across the state and is included in the Agricultural and Rural Development 2024 fiscal year budget. The budget still has to be approved by Congress before the federal fiscal year’s end on Sept. 30.

Randolph has campaigned for a new fire station since 2015 and was hit with roadblocks along the way, such as the price of the station increasing from $1.2 million to the current cost of $2.6 million after the station went out to bid due to the inflation of labor and supplies.  

The town applied for congressional funding after exploring ways to raise the money without having to issue an additional municipal bond and raise the tax rate. Officials said that would be a steep ask on the smallest town in Maine, at an area of 2.08 square miles with just under 2,000 residents.

Randolph Fire Chief Ron Cunningham stands outside the existing Randolph Fire Station at 250 Water St. on Tuesday. Ashley Allen/Kennebec Journal

Town officials say the upgrade is necessary to hold meetings and upgrade the facility with sufficient space for newer vehicles, equipment and training, while expanding the town’s range of fire and EMS services. The current fire station is at 250 Water St. and the proposed location for the new station is at 104 Kinderhook St.

Randolph Fire Chief Ron Cunningham said the wait has been frustrating but the news about the potential congressional money is a “step in the right direction.” He explained that the current fire station needs repairs, mostly from “structural problems” with the building, which is about 65 years old and once also housed the town office and fire department.


“We have been waiting since 2015,” said Cunningham. “It’s been long and ridiculous.” 

An artist’s rendering shows the planned design for a new Randolph Fire Station at 104 Kinderhook St. Rendering courtesy of Ron Cunningham

If the town gets the money approved by Congress, the town will have to contribute 20% of the $2.6 million, which comes to around $700,000. The money has already been raised by the town in the form of a bond two years ago when the project was projected to cost $1.5 million, said Selectman Matt Drost.

Drost said the building has shown signs of deterioration in the walls and ceiling. Additionally, the structure itself could prove to be an issue if the town decides to upgrade its fire engines in the future because the garage bay cannot accommodate a new model fire truck. 

The Randolph Fire Department is run by Cunningham, who works with a team of eight volunteers.

Randolph Fire Chief Ron Cunningham demonstrates the lack of space at the existing Randolph Fire Station at 250 Water St. Ashley Allen/Kennebec Journal

“Our current station is smaller; it only fits some of the older model fire trucks and smaller trucks,” said Drost. “The new station will have a third bay and will accommodate full-size modern equipment. It will also allow the volunteer staff to be present in the building to do the important work they do.” 

Drost said the new station, in addition to having a room for town meetings, will have three bays — two for the fire trucks and one extra bay to host the possibility of housing a vehicle for Gardiner Fire and Rescue.

Randolph Fire Chief Ron Cunningham demonstrates how a door just barely opens due to a lack of space at Randolph Fire Station at 250 Water St. Ashley Allen/Kennebec Journal

“Our mutual aid is from Gardiner, and we want to make sure we have enough infrastructure on this side of the river so it’s providing to us, but also to Chelsea and Pittston.” 

If the federal funding is approved, other recipients could include Franklin County Commissioner’s Office in Farmington; North Lakes Fire & Rescue in Sinclair; towns of Springfield, Hancock and Brownfield; and the city of Bath. All projects are intended to strengthen the emergency response services in the area.

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