Wilmington supports grant application for police/fire co-relocation study

Saturday April 6, 2013

WILMINGTON -- Town Manager Scott Murphy asked for public input on an application for Community Development Grant Block Disaster Recovery funds that would go towards a study for a possible co-relocation of the town’s fire and police department buildings.

"This is our first application in (for the program)," said Murphy. "As far as the application goes, through this CDBG grant application, we will be looking for analysis to be done to evaluate the co-relocation into one building."

The public hearing is mandated before the town can apply for a CDBG-DR grant. It is required to collect public input before submission.

The hearing was held at the Selectboard’s regular meeting on April 3.

"As you know, (Tropical Storm) Irene got us in trouble, when both departments were out of service," said Murphy. "Relocating the services out of (the flood zone) will be consistent with the town’s hazardous flood plan."

Wilmington Fire Chief Ken March applauded the efforts. Both the Wilmington Fire Department and Wilmington Police Department support the application.

"We want to ensure that doesn’t happen again," he said. "We want to be able to make sure we can provide our services to the town."

Murphy said that the first step will be identifying a "firm plan and preferable location" and the study will determine up to six different locations to review.

The study will also cover "conceptual designs and facility plans as well as initial estimated development cost."

"The chosen company will work with the town and the Selectboard," said Murphy about the study. "Then we’ll produce a schematic plan to refine a more accurate cost estimate."

He said the application is ready to go. There was a copy for the public available at the hearing.

"The next step is getting the documents filed in the system," Murphy said. "Once we get public comment, we will add to the application and after five days, we’ll be able to send it."

He felt positive about the application and that the board, which is responsible for determining whether or not to grant funds to the town for this study, would look at the application positively.

"I think it’s a good thing. Get it done quick," said a resident. "Even if you have to split it," said a resident.

Another resident asked if the study determined that there should be two buildings instead of one combined building for both services, the town would still go for the co-relocation.

"No," answered Murphy. "Whatever is best."

Selectboard member Diane Champion asked how soon this would all take place. Murphy said that in May, the town would probably know.

"If we receive approval, we can hire within 30 days," he added. "Looking at the early fall to have this in hand."

Selectboard Chairwoman Meg Streeter asked if the application has to be approved by the state.

"It’s dispensed by the state," said Murphy. "It comes from emergency funding."

The application took more time than expected to complete because the first grant writer’s husband had died. The town then hired David Pride.

Murphy commended Pride. He said he did "an excellent job."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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