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Committee recommends new police station, fire substation in Bedford

BEDFORD — After an independent review of town facilities, a committee is recommending that a new police department building and new fire department substation be built.

“In all of our options, we believe the police department needs to have a stand-alone building,” Town Manager Rick Sawyer said.

While the Bedford Town Facilities Committee is suggesting various options, Sawyer said that in every recommended scenario a new police building is included, as well as a new fire substation, an addition to the public library, and an expansion of the town’s transfer station.

After reviewing an extensive assessment conducted by Harriman Associates, which highlights the different needs for 11 town buildings, the committee determined its four top priorities.

Those recommendations include the acquisition of 47 Constitution Dr. — a parcel that would allow the construction of a new, 25,000-square-foot police station at a cost of about $16.9 million.

The committee is also recommending the construction of a new fire substation at 4 Sunset Lane for about $5.5 million.

An addition to the library would included an expanded customer area, public meeting spaces and more parking, and cost about $4.9 million, while the renovation and expansion of the existing transfer station carries a $1.2 million price tag.

Sawyer said the committee believes those four projects should be a priority when considering the current and future needs of town facilities. Although the ideas are preliminary and conceptual, the rough cost estimates for all four projects total $28.5 million.

However, there are still several other projects the committee would prefer to see done at different facilities in town, though those options vary in detail and prices. Those options include renovating the existing public safety complex, acquiring 3 Constitution Dr. to expand the public safety building to potentially house several town departments, renovating and expanding the Department of Public Works garage, renovating the town pool, demolishing the Nashua Road DPW facility, renovating town hall.

On Monday, Will Gatchell of Harriman Associates presented his firm’s options on how to improve town facilities, which recommended numerous scenarios and different cost points ranging between $42 million and $73 million.

“It was very clear that the more we built new, the more expensive things got very, very quickly,” said Gatchell, adding the most pressing priority is the need for the police department to have its own space.

Currently, the police department shares space with the fire department at the town’s public safety complex at 55 Constitution Dr.

Police need to have their own space for security and operational needs, Gatchell said, and the fire department needs a substation to improve emergency response times along the Route 3 corridor.

Town officials are hoping to have a new master plan for its facilities in place by the end of the year. Sawyer has said that difficult decisions will need to be made if the town council hopes to bring any projects forward for local voters to consider at the polls in March.

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