March 29 2016
Selectmen Vote to Recommend $18 Million in Capital Project to Town Meeting
By: Rich Hosford
The Burlington Board of Selectmen voted to recommend three large capital projects to Town Meeting during the Monday night meeting.
The projects have all been a long time coming and each addressed a different need in town.
The first vote was to recommend approval of a warrant article for $8.5 million for a new fire station 2 to be built at the current location on Terrace Hall Avenue.
Town Administrator John Petrin said the current building does not meet the needs of the fire department in that part of town.
“The current station has passed its usefulness and life expectancy,” he said. “It’s an F- building.”
Petrin said the proposed plan is to tear down the current station and replace it with a 3-bay station capable of housing up to five or six vehicles, depending on the vehicle size. This would allow the department to house a ladder team, an engine and an ambulance at the site. With increased call volumes in that part of town, he argued this was necessary.
Selectman Bob Hogan expressed agreement.
“We need to get this done for the sake of the town and the sake of the firefighters who have to work in these deplorable conditions,” he said. “I think we need to move forward and move forward now.”
The board voted 4-0-1 to recommend Town Meeting approved the $8.5 million for design plans and construction of the station. Chairman Michael Runyan, a member of the Burlington Fire Department, abstained from the vote.
The second project was to use between $6 million and $6.5 million for renovations and upgrades at the Human Services Building and the 33 Center Street property. $1.65 million of that total was already allocated by Town Meeting last year for renovations at 33 Center Street that could not be completed due to rising costs of construction.
Petrin said one goal of these renovations would be to give the Council on Aging more space in the Human Services Building. In the long-term, he explained, it would be beneficial to create an entirely new space for the Recreation Department but that is not financially feasible at this time.
The plan for now is to renovate the first and second floors of 33 Center Street, but not the basement, and move the Health Department and Youth and Family Services there, thus freeing up room in the Human Services Building.
There is also a plan to add 40 new parking spaces at the Human Services Building and doing some building work there but not a full renovation at this time.
Finally, the third project concerns the Department of Public Works.
In the past there had been talked about consolidating all the DPW offices, storage facilities and maintenance needs into one central location. Petrin said that after looking at finding a place big enough that plan is cost prohibited.
The plan now is to renovate four locations, but over a number of years. Petrin said that in total the cost estimate is about $30 million to do everything but this year the town is asking Town Meeting to approve $3.5 million for the two smaller sites.
The first is to spend $1 million to replace the salt shed on Grant Avenue. DPW Director John Sanchez said the building is very poor condition.
The second part is $2.5 million for secondary salt shed and storage facility on Adams Street. This would be used to store things such as sand, stone, bark mulch and other such materials as well as supplies for cleaning catch basins and streets. It will also house materials needed for roadwork.
Sanchez said this site will help ensure the town always has the materials needed to work, including during snow and ice removal. He said in the past decade there have been times when salt was in short supply and the town was in danger of running out.
“We need to have a place that we’re comfortable that we have a back-up,” he said.
The other DPW projects, which will be brought before Town Meeting in the future according to the current plan, is to renovate the site on Meadow Road and house the highway, water and sewer departments there as well as build facilities to house all the equipment inside. The other part is to renovate the Clark & Reid site to house Recreation maintenance and vehicle maintenance.
The Board of Selectmen voted 5-0-0 to recommend that Town Meeting approve the $3.5 million for the first phase of the DPW renovation.