$7.4M Fire Station Plans to Voters?

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Selectmen Considering Warrant Article

By By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, October 26, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- Selectmen are considering putting forth a $7.4 million warrant article to expand the town's fire station and construct a new substation at Hampton Beach.

Fire Chief Hank Lipe presented the proposed warrant article to selectmen for their consideration during Monday night's meeting. The board will decide whether to put it before voters in March at its next meeting.

Lipe said the new substation at the beach would cost $2.5 million while an expansion of Station 2 to include the town's building and planning departments will cost $4.8 million.

Finance Director Michael Schwotzer said both projects can be done without increasing the current tax rate if the town decides to refinance the current police station bond that is scheduled to be paid off in 2012.

The town would pay off the new police station early by getting another bond spread out over 30 years that would include both fire station projects. The expansion to Station 2 on Winnacunnet Road includes demolishing the current office building and the old Town Hall.

Lipe said the only thing that would remain from the current town fire station would be the two apparatus bays. Two additional bays would be constructed as well has a new building where the old town hall is now located.

The new building would not only serve as the fire department's headquarters but also house the planning and building Departments, which was recommended by Plan NH.

"It would be a one-stop shot for permits fire-based or building," Lipe said. "There would also be space for a community room to handle the high crowds demand that attend the (Planning Board and Zoning Board) meetings."

Lipe said the new substation at the beach would be located next to the police station. Selectmen noted the only problem with the location is that it would eat up a number of parking spaces at the Ashworth parking lot.

Lipe said all other possible locations for the substation have been exhausted.

The present site is owned by the Hampton Beach Village Precinct while the Church Street location would be costly because the town would have upgrade the roads and add signalization.

The town also looked at using state-owned land and the possibility of purchasing commercial property to no avail.

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