Bernardston fire station committee seeks public input

  • Bernardston Fire Station. Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Friday, February 02, 2018

BERNARDSTON — As work resumes on planning to upgrade or replace the Fire Station, the Fire Station Expansion Committee is seeking residents’ input.

Fire Chief Peter Shedd, who is also committee chairman, said it’s time for the group to “go back to the drawing board” after its $2.6 million proposal to purchase land for and construct a new station at 23 Kringle Drive was overwhelmingly voted down at October’s special town meeting.

“It’s time to take a different approach,” Shedd said.

While the Selectboard and many residents support the Fire Department and its members, Shedd said, they found the original proposal too costly. Residents who attended the special town meeting suggested using the adjacent property donated by Frank “Bud” Foster or creating a building that would incorporate multiple town offices.

“Our Selectboard advised us to revisit the idea of remaining at our current location, possibly by expanding into adjacent land that a resident has offered to donate,” Shedd said. “The concept is not as simple as it sounds due to environmental and historical concerns, as well as updated regulations for public buildings. However, our residents have spoken.”

Concerns include wetlands restrictions that would require a 100-foot buffer zone for construction, potential demolition of the apartment building on Foster’s property and a need to blend in with the town center’s aesthetic that would require building with more costly materials.

The existing station at 18 Church St., built in the early 1970s, lacks space and is no longer up-to-code, Shedd explained. The building houses four vehicles, with no room for the department’s three equipment trailers, which are stored outside, and has little office space.

Residents who wish to offer their input are encouraged to contact the Fire Station Expansion Committee by email at firedepartment@townofbernardston.org or by mail at the Bernardston Fire Department, P.O. Box 504, Bernardston, MA 01337.