BRUNSWICK — Construction on Brunswick’s new Central Fire Station may begin as early as May, Town Manager John Eldridge told the town council Monday. 

WBRC Architects is working to develop construction plans for the $13.5 million building, and officials anticipate bidding in early 2020. 

The corner of Webster and Pleasant streets in June, which will eventually be the site of the new central fire station. Aging Excellence and Residential Mortgage Services will relocate. Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

The station will be on the corner of Webster and Pleasant Streets, town officials announced over the summer. So far, the town has purchased three of the eight lots needed for the station, with a purchase and sale agreement on two others and draft purchase and sales agreements on the remaining three. Eldridge said in an email he expects to complete the purchases on two this month and the other three in January. 

Two businesses on Pleasant Street will be demolished to accommodate the new station. Aging Excellence moved to another Pleasant Street location and Residential Mortgage Services will move “when the time comes,” owner David Flaherty said this summer. 

The town council looked at more than 10 locations for the upcoming station, Councilor David Watson said earlier this year, and chose the spot because it allows for quick access to downtown and other parts of Brunswick. It also allows the fire department the ability to set the traffic lights up and down Pleasant Street, Councilor Jane Millett added. They also needed to factor in which areas would allow for the size of the fire trucks. 

Brunswick town councilors approved $13.5 million in funding for a new station in April, rather than sending the question to voters for the June referendum. The project will mean a 2.1 percent tax increase and a $79.95 annual tax payment for a property assessed at $200,000.

The new station is slated to replace the current, 100-year-old facility, which has a myriad of safety, practicality and code issues.

The deficiencies in the building include a lack of a sprinkler system, leaking floors, small vehicle bays that were built for horse-drawn fire fighting equipment (requiring the fire truck mirrors to be removed and sized down in order to accommodate their size) no storage and living quarters that sometimes double as office spaces, among others that have been documented for more than 20 years.

The new station will roughly triple the current station’s available space, which is currently fewer than 10,000 square feet. 

Councilors narrowly voted against a more expensive $15 million station plan, despite a large community show of support at a public hearing. Councilor Steve Walker said he was “yet to be convinced” that the $1.5 million dollar price difference would result in an equal increase in public safety.

Last year the department made 4,600 runs, responding to 3,379 calls for emergency medical services and 1,271 calls for fires and alarms. 

The $13.5 million project includes the estimated $11 million station and the cost of land, as well as a roughly $300,000 bay that had initially been taken out by Fire Chief Ken Brillant during an earlier price cut. 

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