Decision on Greenfield’s public safety complex site expected next week

  • The Greenfield Fire Station on Main Street will eventually be razed to make room for a new library. The city is considering locations for a new public safety complex that will house fire, police, dispatch and ambulance. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • First Congregational Church on Silver Street in Greenfield is one of four potential locations for a public safety complex. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The former Carr Hardware building on Main and Wells streets is one of four potential locations for a public safety complex. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Above: The former Barn property on River Street in Greenfield is one of four potential locations for a public safety complex. Below: The former Carr Hardware building on Main and Wells streets is another candidate. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Greenfield open-air market on Main Street is one of four potential locations for a public safety complex. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/17/2020 3:47:03 PM
Modified: 7/17/2020 3:46:51 PM

GREENFIELD — The city’s Public Safety Building Committee hopes to have a decision by the end of next week about where either a temporary or permanent public safety complex that will house fire, police, ambulance and dispatch will be located.

Robert “Butch” Hawkins, chair of the 20-member committee, as well as the city’s Public Safety Commission, has called a meeting Monday at 2 p.m. While some members, including Hawkins, will meet in City Hall, others will join virtually via Webex.

Hawkins said a decision needs to be made if the new library project is going to move ahead as planned. Those involved with the library project have said it needs to break ground by late April 2021 to receive funding from the state, though it could request an extension.

The Public Safety Building Committee will discuss — and hopefully vote on, Hawkins said — one of four properties being considered for a new public safety complex: the First Congregational Church on Silver Street; the open-air market on Main Street; the former Carr Hardware building on Main and Wells streets (does not include the former furniture store/current antique store); and the former The Barn Grocery Store property on River Street. Another property on Riddell Street is no longer being considered, and the reason is expected to be discussed on Monday.

“If we don’t vote on Monday, I’ll call another meeting for Thursday,” Hawkins said. “I want to make this decision next week.”

If the city is going to break ground for a new library, the Fire Station has to be relocated because some of the library construction will overlap where the station is currently located on Main Street.

The city’s public safety services are housed in two buildings: the Fire Station in a building built in the 1930s on Main Street; and police and dispatch in a former medical building built in 1985 on High Street. Both buildings have been partially renovated over the years, but neither meets the demands of the departments or the codes for emergency services buildings, according to their chiefs.

The public safety complex project will find a new space with the least impact on the budget, Hawkins said. The city will take advantage of state incentives to communities that regionalize 911 dispatch services.

Hawkins said the Public Safety Commission and other city officials have been talking about building a new public safety complex for at least a dozen years, and therefore are ready to make some recommendations and a decision on the property.

Even as early as 1994, a Greenfield Fire Department needs assessment cited that apparatus had to squeeze through doors that are “woefully inadequate and substandard.” A decade later, Greenfield was told the Fire Department needed to “seriously consider planning for either a complete rehabilitation and expansion or replacement.”

Hawkins said the purchase of a property could cost $2.4 to $2.5 million. That money will come from the $10 million allocated by the city and a vote of City Council to Greenfield’s capital budget to build a public safety complex.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner included the $10 million in her fiscal year 2021 capital budget. The funding was based on a feasibility study conducted a few years ago.

The Public Safety Building Committee meeting will be held Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. Join the meeting by visiting bit.ly/2ZA3Wh2. Or, to join by phone, call 408-418-9388 and use access code: 132 004 2947.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.



Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy