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August 06. 2013 8:16PM

Winnisquam Marine owner seeks to buy former fire department property

BELMONT — The owner of Winnisquam Marine has informed the town that he is interested in buying the now-defunct Winnisquam Fire Department building and property across the street from his business.

Ed Crawford presented a letter to the town Monday asking that his business, which has helped maintain the building and its parking lots for more than 30 years, be given first consideration as a buyer of the property.

The town, which has decided to sell the building and its .33 acres of property, accepted Crawford’s letter at Monday’s board of selectmen meeting but took no action on it, said Town Administrator K. Jeanne Beaudin.

In the coming weeks, the town will ask for “expressions of interest” from potential buyers of the property. The board has not set a price for it yet, she said.

The sale of the property will not likely take place until October or later, she said.

Built in the 1940s, the Winnisquam Fire Department served areas of Belmont, Sanbornton and Tilton that were a distance from each of those towns’ fire department buildings.

In 2005, the Winnisquam Fire Department became part of the Belmont Fire Department. In 2010, Belmont town officials decided to ceased fire department operations at the station.

Several months ago, Tilton-Northfield Fire Chief Brad Ober and Belmont Fire Chief Dave Parenti began discussing the idea of reopening the fire station with Sanbornton, if the towns involved would agree to fund it. But Belmont officials decided instead to close the station and sell it.

Crawford said his business began assisting the Winnisquam Fire Department in 1982, when it donated a 60-horsepower motor for the department’s rescue boat. Winnisquam Marine has also paid for paving work about 20 years ago, he said, as a donation to the department.

His business, which has also plowed the department’s parking lot over the years, would use the lot as additional parking spaces and would expand operations into the building, he said.

“It just seems like a natural fit for us,” Crawford said.

dseufert@newstote.com


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