Architects seek input on public safety project

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WILMINGTON — Architects involved in a project that will potentially relocate the police and fire stations into a new building on Beaver Street will be meeting with residents to get their input.

"We'd like everybody to have a say about what they would like to see and keep the community informed and hear their suggestions," Wilmington Fire Chief Scott Moore said in an interview Tuesday.

Moore described the two stations as "kind of inadequate for our growing departments and equipment."

"I mean, we have equipment now that we didn't have years ago because we didn't need it," he said.

Moore said the equipment — including a rescue sled, brush truck, generator, emergency management trailer and an all-terrain vehicle — is kept on a dirt floor in a barn. He noted the fire station needs a new roof and new bay doors.

His hope is that NBF Architects of Rutland will have better drawings by the time of the meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Old School Community Center at 1 School Street.

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"They kind of just did quick drawings of what they were thinking," Moore said. "Who knows what's going to happen? These are conceptual drawings."

Seven bids for a feasibility study were reviewed by the Wilmington Public Safety Facilities Committee last month. The committee recommended going with NBF Architects, according to minutes from the Select Board's Dec. 17 meeting where the board voted to do that.

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The town is using 1 percent local option tax revenue for the $39,000 study. If the project moves forward, NBF Architects' remaining $221,000 balance on the bid to complete the design will be considered by voters at annual Town Meeting in March.

The effort had partly been in response to the flooding that downtown Wilmington and both stations experienced during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

"Not ironically the brave people of these departments were most needed during the flood and they were not able to use their respective facilities," states the town's request for proposals (RFP) that went out for the feasibility study.

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Other aims of the project involve having "adequate space and functionality" for personnel and equipment, and "energy efficiency maximization."

This marks the second time the Public Safety Facility Committee has been convened to look into moving first responders out of the floodplain. Both committees recommended the site be 40 Beaver Street, an approximately 1.5-acre of town-owned land that had formerly been the road crew's garage.

The property is across from the Old School Community Center, above where recycling bins had been. It "has been bare, except for two barns since 2012," states the RFP, describing it as "central for deployment of personnel ... accessible by volunteer fire fighters ... sufficient" to fit both departments and already owned by the town. There is water and sewer services, and it would allow police officers to keep their downtown presence.

Those not able to attend Thursday's meeting can offer feedback by emailing the town's administrative assistant, Jessica DeFrancesco, at jdefrancesco@wilmingtonvt.us.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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