Finance Committee Votes to Support Fire Station Land Purchase at Annual Town Meeting

Bedford’s Finance and Capital Expenditure Committees met on Thursday, March 5 to hear a presentation about Article 26, a proposal to consider the purchase of land for a new fire station.

The meeting’s primary goal was to assess the Town’s ability to afford the projected $7.65M cost. The projected new building, at 21,000 square feet, needs a parcel of 60,000 square feet.

The combined meeting was a business session so that the two committees could gather information and make a decision about support for Article 26, not a public hearing with resident comments.

Questions surfaced about constraints on expansion at the current site; unanimity on the part of the Selectmen in support of the project as well as their guidance as it unfolded;  that underground parking isn’t feasible due to the weight of the firefighting apparatus;  that the response time studies are current; that the estimated cost includes real property, relocation, and professional fees; that the Town’s new fiber-optic network could serve the proposed building; and possible mitigation options for abutters.

The Finance Committee voted 8-0-0 to approve Article 26, based on the need for a new station and the Town’s ability to afford the debt. Without a quorum, the Capital ExpenditureCommittee will need another meeting to decide whether or not to support the article at Town Meeting.

To pass, Article 26 will require a two-thirds vote at Annual Town Meeting. The funds will be bonded as the town’s various school construction projects and other bond obligations are retired.

To Learn More

Town Manager Sarah Stanton and Fire Chief David Grunes have scheduled two public forums (Tuesday and Thursday, March 10 and 12, in the Reed Room at Town Hall to discuss the background of the project and answer residents’ questions, and the Selectmen have scheduled a meeting with abutters on Wednesday, March 11. Public tours of the fire station are scheduled at 10 am and 1 pm on Saturday, March 14.

Click this link to visit the Town’s web page about the new fire station project

Click this link to read about Article 26 in the Warrant for Annual Town Meeting

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