Town Hall & Fire Station

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Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by Timeout on Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:41 pm

I was talking with a friend the other day about the possible changes in use of the town hall and the fire station. Let's suppose the courthouse goes away. What if the town decides to build a new public safety building elsewhere? What happens to these buildings? Congress Street is struggling now to keep storefronts occupied. If the court left, we have this big empty space. With a new public safety building, the police go and our whole ground floor is just about empty as well. Fire station - empty. Now what? Still have to pay heat, water, etc. on those two buildings. We just spent a bundle renovating them. They are anchors for the head of Congress Street...I don't see anyone moving into them anytime soon. Any input on this from anyone?

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by C on Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:18 pm

How about a theater and arts center?

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Empty Buildings

Post by public slave on Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:45 am

I have heard that there were discussions of having the police department work out of their existing station and possibly the fire station if vacated. That way the police could put their cruisers inside and they could also utilize office space or create interview rooms, evidence rooms, or whatever in the fire house. I think Chief Carter wanted to remain a presence on the island. I also think that if the town hall is brought up to code the town should look at something to draw performing arts, theatre, or something like that to utilize the building.

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by Timeout on Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:59 am

As for theatre, it's a challenging space in my opinion. The level floor seating makes viewing the stage a challenge. The accoustics are questionable. The handicap access enters right in the middle of the audience, clanging bells and all. Is there a handicap access bathroom on that floor? We also have a theatre space at the high school...is this a redundancy? I mean, romantically I like the idea, practically I don't. Practical always wins out for me...lol...I know, boring.

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by Timeout on Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:18 am

Public Slave, I had not considered the possibility of utilizing the fire department space for the police department vehicles, etc. I'd like to hear more about that.

I would also like to hear what consideration if any has been given to long range plans for providing fire and ems services to Rumford.

- If we are looking to provide one building for these services, who will be in that building? For instance, will Med-care be part of it?

- Will it be a regionalized service?

- Are people thinking Rumford Fire will take that service over?

I'm still looking for clarification and numbers to support any of these ideas in order to view the whole picture. Compartmentalized decision making is limited decision making.

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by public slave on Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:08 pm

I think town manager Len Greaney is aware of the possibility of the police discussions about the fire station.

I am not sure about the entire building process. I have heard Med-Care board and management speaking of creating a starting point with their building that would incorporate future fire possibilities if the location was appropriate for a regional model. I suspect that would be up to the towns to iron out. I recall Med-Care discussing their need now and the fact that the fire departments are really early in their consolidation phase if they will be able to at all and it could take a couple of years. I believe Med-Care is not opposed to a shared building but they have a need now and it takes time for fire departments to merge.

I don't suspect that the Rumford Fire or even a consolidated fire department will deliver the EMS as it still seems that Med-Care providing up to paramedic level service is a good deal for the minimal taxes. I could see the possibility down the road if the fire service gets regionalized and organized that it might be feasible to look at then merging the regional fire service and the existing regional ambulance service into a consolidated delivery model.

I don't know what all the numbers might be but I think it would be cost prohibitive for any town to try to take on ambulance services on an individual basis. I do however think that in phases the taxpayers could recognize savings of fire consolidation as one phase and after that was worked out looking at the benefits of then merging fire and ems into one new multi-role system. I think there would be likely savings in several areas. The problems are that some would pay more than they do now and it would be difficult to convince them that the delivery of services would be worth it. A lot of people don't understand all of that and think that what they currently have is great!!

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by Timeout on Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:58 am

Thank you for getting my questions and answering them so thoroughly. I appreciate that and am glad to see someone has a broad range view.

Since you are so good at answering questions, I have a few more:

I have heard that there is a suggestion by someone on the Finance Committee that the Rumford Point Fire Station be closed. How do you see this relating to the current operation of the fire department?

What will be the impact of closing on homeowner's insurance? (I plan to call my agent and find out what the difference will be in my costs if the station is moved from less than a mile from my house to ten miles away.)

What about our commitment of First Responder services to the town of Hanover, which I believe they pay $3,000 for?

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by Timeout on Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:47 am

What do people think of a combined public safety building or collaborative? That would include fire, ems and police.

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by fred04276 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:40 pm

I believe all talk on any public service building, MedCare building or any structure, should be put on hold until we have a better picture of what is going on with the mill.
NewPage has stated several times that this is one of their most expensive mills to operate, so don't be surprised when the weather gets a little warmer they could pull another Kimberley Wisconsin and pull the plug on this mill.

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by Timeout on Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:56 pm

I have to agree with you Fred, I have the same concerns.

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Re: Town Hall & Fire Station

Post by public slave on Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:04 pm

It is easy to take this position but there are many other things to consider. The current facilities are not in compliance and do not service their needs anymore and to do nothing is also not acceptable as the workers within these facilities are in jeopardy due to life safety codes. Secondly as hard as it may seem to swallow and understand there will always be a need for fire protection and medical services. If the mill shuts down, yes we have to think about that and not be naieve, what will the communities do. They all need to get busy thinking about diversifying our operations. Could the mill transition into making bio-fuels or how about wood pellets, or a host of other things. What about creating the area into a recreational location with all the ski resorts, snow mobile trails, and outdoor opportunities year round. What about re-addressing large farming operations and green houses to produce things that are homegrown and virtually chemical free. The list goes on and on but if we don't have public safety infrastructure how in the world are we going to attract anything to this area. The schools are good, the hospital is good, the local businesses that we have are good, and there is tremendous potential. We can't base every decision on the mill. People are still getting older and sick, people are still having accidents and requiring ambulances, and things still catch on fire. There is a need for these services regardless of the mill. Furthermore, building materials and labor are at an all time low with other builiders that are trying to keep their company afloat and workers getting paid. There may not be a better time to build?? Serving a critical need, stimulating the economy, keeping people working, getting it for a reduced price, etc. etc.

Timeout answering question number 1: It would be a bad thing to close the point station. Having a truck in that part of town even though not covered by full timers is still a vital piece of equipment to serve the citizens of that region. Number 2: I am not sure but I believe there are discounts based on the closer you live to a fire hydrant and fire station. Number 3 Don't know you would have to talk to town manager and fire chief.

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