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Home | Election 2013

Milton fire chief hopes voters step up for new station

Union Leader Correspondent

November 04. 2013 9:58PM

MILTON — The bond to build a new fire station came up short by 21 votes last year, but Fire Chief Nick Marique hopes it will go through in March.

Last year, a $2.7 million proposal to replace the town’s aging fire station — which is comprised of a 200-year-old horse barn with an addition built in the 1950s — narrowly missed the required three-fifths majority. It was the fourth proposal since 2007 to fail to garner the 60 percent super majority.

Marique said firefighters asked the project’s architect and engineer to update the cost to ensure residents are informed of their options.“We’ll have a new price proposal next month,” Marique said, adding firefighters will review the plan to keep increases to a minimum.If approved, Marique said the plan is to build the new station on a two-acre parcel. It was donated by Herbert Downs in 2009 with the provision it must be used for a station within seven years.

Marique said the proposed site along Route 125 is flat, centrally located and in a high-population area.

While Marique said the town has kept the existing station well-maintained, he believes firefighters have done all they can.

“We definitely got our money’s worth out of it,” Marique said.

A few years ago, police moved out the building to a new home on Townhouse Road. While this freed up space for firefighters, it did not affect the physical condition of the building.

“The vehicles aren’t getting any smaller,” Marique said, adding firefighters have to buy vehicles which fit within the already cramped conditions.

Additionally, Marique said firefighters must follow strict parking and exiting procedures to ensure the safety of personnel, equipment and the building itself. Despite the precautions, he added accidents have broken some side mirrors and occasionally damaged garage doorways.

The chief said the building is also filled with dust from old forms of insulation — form when the structure served as a horse barn — and moisture in the basement.

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