Belmont makes deal to sell Winnisquam fire station for $240,000
By DAN SEUFERT Union Leader Correspondent
The former Winnisquam Fire Station. (DAN SEUFERT)
BELMONT — Ed Crawford and his crews from Winnisquam Marine helped the town and volunteer firefighters keep up the Winnisquam Fire Station, its lawns, its driveways, and its fire boat for about 30 years before it closed in 2006 because of bad economic times.
Now Crawford wants to buy the building, and town officials have approved his letter of interest to do so.
The purchase will come before town voters to approve in a warrant article. The article will be up for discussion at the town's deliberative session on Feb. 1 and will come before voters at the polls on March 11.
Crawford, whose marine business is directly across the street from the fire station building, said he thinks residents will remember all the good work Winnisquam Marine has done for the building and its firefighters.
"We're very optimistic that it will pass," Crawford said. "It's a very natural fit for us and for the town."
Town Administrator K. Jeanne Beaudin said the selectmen accepted the proposal from Crawford, the only proposal for the building the town has received. The proposal will now be turned into a warrant article, she said.
Beaudin said the town was gifted to the town for a price of $1 in 2006.
Crawford is offering $240,000 for the building, which is $5,000 more than its $235,000 appraisal value.
"We offered a little more than it is worth as a gesture of good faith to the town," he said.
Crawford said the fire station was built in 1955, and had an addition put on in 1985. The fire department disbanded from the station in 2006, and Winnisquam Marine now leases the space for storage.
While it was a fire station, Winnisquam Marine helped maintain the building and its grounds, landscaping it in warm months and plowing its driveways in winter months.
In 1982, the marina donated an engine to the department's fire boat, which was also stored, docked and maintained by the business.
"When it was the Winnisquam Fire Department, we always helped out and helped keep the place going," Clark said.
If the town approves the sale, Crawford said the building will serve many uses for his business. It will be the home of an expanded service department, a boat rental desk, and a canvas shop, where boat covers of all shapes and sizes will be made.