Daniel Amaral, whose former Chrysler dealership and service station is a fixture on upper South Main Street, is hoping to welcome a new neighbor in the coming months — Newtown Hook & Ladder.
The local businessman and longtime Legislative Councilman told The Bee this week he has agreed to sell a 1.1-acre parcel across from his garage and adjacent to the Chintz-N-Prints fabric shop to the volunteer fire company as a site for its new firehouse headquarters.
Mr Amaral said he negotiated a $400,000 selling price for the property, which contains a residential home and two vintage barns.
First Selectman Pat Llodra hailed the news, saying the agreement between the local businessman and the fire company was a critical first step in the process of relocating the fire company. The current Hook & Ladder firehouse behind Edmond Town Hall has been deemed unsafe, and has several structural deficiencies that have been worsening over the past two decades.
"This location is within sight of the Sugar Street location that Hook & Ladder first sought to occupy, so it appears to still be centrally located within their [fire] district, and with immediate access to Route 25," Mrs Llodra said.
Saying the proposed fire company project reflects an appropriate use of the location, and that once the parties finalize the transfer of ownership, she expects to see Hook & Ladder representatives returning to the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, and the Legislative Council to update officials on how the company plans to move forward with the construction phase.
"We've already heard that Hook & Ladder can begin by completing a bare-bones structure, with outfitting to protect the equipment and to serve the volunteers, and that they could build out and finish other aspects of the interior in phases," Mrs Llodra said.
The town has committed $1.5 million in capital borrowing to help the company become independent, and she is anxious to learn whether Hook & Ladder will require any additional funding to bring the project to its first phase of completion.
The first selectman said she may be willing to support adding $500,000 to the capital allocation, because that was the amount the fire company believed it would need to complete a new headquarters along with the surrounding work that would be required behind Edmond Town Hall.
After a failed attempt to build its fire station on donated land off Sugar Street behind the Police Headquarters, the company explored building in the rearmost lower lot behind Edmond Town Hall. But that site was determined to be unfeasible because it would reduce the overall number of parking spaces and would add up to $500,000 to the project to reconfigure and renovate the town hall parking area.
A call for comment from the fire company's spokesperson was not immediately returned.