$1M ‘authorized,’ not yet ‘appropriated’ for Bernardston fire station

Staff Writer
Published: 8/2/2018 10:38:00 PM

BERNARDSTON — A million dollars in state aid for the construction of Bernardston’s new fire station is “authorized but not (yet) appropriated” for the town’s use, Town Coordinator Hugh Campbell said.

Campbell said that he will have to coordinate with Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, to find out what the terms for receiving the money will be and how much information on the project the state needs from the town before the money will be released.

Mark added the money to a bond bill after Selectman Stan Garland mentioned Bernardston’s ongoing efforts to build a new fire station in a conversation with him. The bill has been signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, but town officials do not yet know the requirements for receiving the money.

“What degree of detail does the state want to see?” Campbell said. He suggested schematic designs or permits as requirements that the state may have for releasing the money.

If the state does make requirements like those, the money may not be released for some time. The bond bill is good until May 2023, allowing a five-year window for the town to meet whatever requirements there may be, Campbell said. The Fire Station Expansion Committee has considered multiple locations for a new station, but no plans for construction have been made.

Most recently, the Selectboard voted to recommend against pursuing the Valley Concrete property on Route 10 near Mount Hermon Station Road. Campbell cited concerns among Selectboard members and firefighters that the location would be too far from the center of town to ensure quick response times.

“We would like to see (the fire station) come back to the original property (next to Cushman Library),” said Selectman Brian Keir.

Because much of the area around the fire station in central Bernardston is wetland, Fire Chief Peter Shedd said, there will be limits to how much the building can be expanded if the fire station stays at its current location.

“It’s not going to be as big as what we wanted, but anything we do will definitely be an improvement,” Shedd said.

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