Mayor expects new firehouse to cost $10M or less

  • Greenfield Public Library and Fire Station on Main Street. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 2/21/2019 6:30:31 AM

GREENFIELD — A new fire department, which could be built out in the future to become a public safety complex, is likely to be built between Beacon and Riddell streets, regardless of whether a new library will be built downtown, Mayor William Martin said Wednesday.

While the cost of a new firehouse is still being calculated, Martin said the cost should be $10 million or less.

He hopes for the price tag to be available by Feb. 27, when the city’s financial advisers come to Greenfield to explain the city’s ability to pay and borrow for a new library and fire station.

The size of the fire station is expected to be 20,000 square feet, a 15 percent reduction from the initial estimate.

Martin updated the City Council about the fire station and potential public safety complex at the council’s Wednesday night meeting. Martin explained the details of the plan earlier in the day in an interview with the Recorder.

The city awaits floor plans to help it develop a more precise estimate. The city has been budgeting for a $12.5 million fire station in its debt planning.

City officials had hoped for a feasibility study to be completed around the new year, which is not yet finished. The study did confirm the area is well-suited for a fire station or public safety complex, Martin said.

The mayor said there is room, but no money, to build a skate park at this location as well. Skate park advocates have said they wanted the park at this same location.

Questions of the cost and the feasibility of the fire station on Beacon Street have been tied to the debate over a new public library. If the council approves building the planned $19.5 million library, the city will need to move its current fire station. The city has been planning for years to build a bigger fire station at a new location, possibly in combination with a police station and dispatch center. 

Greenfield fire officials have said the current fire station, on Main Street beside the Greenfield Public Library, is not adequate anymore to hold large, modern trucks. Fire officials have also noted that Main Street is not an ideal location from which to respond to calls.

As the plans for a new fire station begin to solidify, Martin said he is committed to the site being used as a public safety complex.

He doesn’t foresee moving the police station to the site right away, but rather  foresees doing so if the current police station were sold and the money used to fund an addition to the fire station. The possibility of a city-run regional dispatch service moving into the complex is still under consideration.

In the fall, the City Council rejected a proposed public safety complex that would have entered Greenfield into a lease with a private developer at the site of the former Carr Hardware property, with frontage on Main and Wells streets.

Some of the councilors at the time were uncomfortable with the idea of a 30-year lease that could cost up to $60 million, if the city never bought the building.

Moving the fire station is a prerequisite for building a proposed $19.5 million library, which would replace the fire station at the Main Street location. Some critics of the library last year cited the uncertainty at the time about the fire station plans.

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