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New Police Station Proposal Slated For Referendum Vote

Published: April 08, 2017 at 12:00 am


When voters cast ballots on April 25 on the proposed 2017-18 operating budgets for the town government and the municipal school system, they also will be faced with six referendum questions on major capital spending proposals.

Among those capital spending questions, which total $7.7 million, will be a question on whether to approve a special $300,000 appropriation through bonding for the planning and design of a new police station, which would replace the existing police station at Town Hall South at 3 Main Street.

Town police officials have long said that their existing facilities are physically substandard and too small for the functioning of a 45-member police department. Also, police say that their current 1.2-acre site is cramped and has inadequate parking.

Police Commission members have intermittently discussed the need for a new police station for the past 15 years, with the drive for new facilities now listed on the town's capital improvement plan, which runs from fiscal year 2017-18 to fiscal year 2021-22.

That plan lists $300,000 in spending for police station planning for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The plan also lists $5 million in spending for police station construction in each of the two successive fiscal years. The three appropriations would total $10.3 million.

Although a site has not been determined, it is thought a new police station would be constructed somewhere at the town-owned Fairfield Hills core campus.

At the April 4 Police Commission meeting, Police Chief James Viadero said that an initial $300,000 appropriation would cover the creation of a schematic design for a new police station, as well as certain planning costs for such a facility.

A basic schematic plan likely would cost somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000 to produce, he said. The $300,000 sum represents the level of spending needed to get the project to the point where it could be advertised for construction bids, he said.

Police Commission member Daniel Rosenthal suggested that the commission submit a letter for newspaper publication expressing the commission's views on the police station proposal.

Commission Chairman Joel Faxon said of a new police station, "It's a building this town has needed for a very, very long time." It is obvious that the existing police station is "totally inadequate" for the function it serves, he said.

The building housing the existing police station served as an agricultural equipment dealership until the early 1980s, when the town converted the 1950 structure for use as a police station on the upper level and town offices on the lower level.


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