By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, December 7, 2004
HAMPTON - Fire Chief Hank Lipe came before selectmen Monday night to give the board an update on the planning of a new fire station and what he said is a desperate need for a new ladder truck.
Lipe said its no secret that the town will eventually have to replace the current fire station headquarters on Ashworth Avenue at Hampton Beach.
He presented two options for selectmen to consider in the future.
The first option is to construct a new $6 million fire station headquarters at Hampton Beach.
The second option is to construct a $2 million sub-station at Hampton Beach and use $4.4 million to upgrade the current sub-station at Winnacunnet Road into the new headquarters.
Lipe said while there is a need for a new fire station, he supports putting it off for now.
The only way the town can put off building a new fire station is if they come to an agreement with the Hampton Beach Village District.
In 2002, selectmen and the Hampton Beach Village District reached an agreement in which the town would take over responsibility of fire protection at the beach.
As part of the agreement, the precinct leases the Hampton Beach Fire Station to the town for a $1 a year with the lease expiring in 2005. The town also agreed it would vacate the premises when the lease expires and put forth an article to construct a new fire station at the beach.
The Village Precinct has already offered a deal which would buy the town some more time in presenting a warrant article for a new fire station.
The precinct offered to give the town the precinct parking area and the land where the current fire station headquarters is located.
In exchange, the town would hand over the current (soon-to-be former) police station and the Ashworth Avenue parking lot.
If the town accepts the deal, the town will have land for a new fire station and will be able to use the current station for a little bit longer.
Town Manager James Barrington said he's still in negotiations with the precinct in coming up with a fair deal that would be beneficial to both parties.
Deputy Chief Steven Benotti also informed selectmen that they need to be thinking about replacing their current ladder truck, which was first purchased in 1980.
Benotti said the new truck will cost about $800,000. If selectmen decide to sponsor a warrant article, Benotti said he would recommend the town lease-purchase the truck rather than pay the total cost up front.