By Laura Bricker
Hampton Union, Tuesday, March 16, 2004
[** See correction notice at end of this article.]
HAMPTON — Despite the failure of a warrant article that would have funded a space-needs study for the Hampton Beach fire station, Fire Chief Hank Lipe said he plans to move ahead on a design for a new station at the beach.
Warrant Article 11, which would have appropriated $60,000 to study the Fire Department's space needs, failed by a vote of 1,806 in favor to 2,766 against.
Lipe said last week he can use $16,500 from the Fire Department's current-year budget to hire an architect to design a new station. In December, Lipe said the funds became available when bids for communication upgrades came in lower than expected.
The money will fund designs and little else, the chief said, adding that the project really needed more money to be done properly.
"I guess the people just don't want to spend the money," he said.
In 2002, the Hampton Board of Selectmen and the Hampton Beach Village District reached an agreement in which the town would take over, from the beach village district, the responsibility of fire protection at the beach. As part of the agreement, the town has agreed to make a good-faith effort in planning for the construction of a new fire station by 2005.
"We're kind of tied to this lease," said Lipe. "I have to move this forward and make good-faith efforts to satisfy the requirements of the lease."
As part of the space-needs study proposed in the failed warrant article, Lipe had planned to look at the existing spaces and purposes of both the beach station and Station No. 2 on Winnacunnet Road.
"We're just looking at different options," the chief said, adding that an addition to Station No. 2 is one possibility. "We're out of space there."
Another possibility is to move the administrative headquarters from the beach to the other station.
The beach station, which was built in 1923, doesn't meet any building or fire codes, said Lipe.
"It was a fine station in 1923 and probably up to the 1950s or '60s, when things started getting busy here in Hampton," the chief said. "Hampton's grown."
Lipe hopes to present a plan later this year when an updated capital improvements plan is put together, with the intention of presenting a proposal for a new or renovated station in March of 2005.
[** CORRECTION AS PUBLISHED IN THE FRIDAY'S EDITION OF THE HAMPTON UNION, MARCH 19, 2004:
"Because of a reporter's error, information in an article for a new fire station was incorrect. The $16,500 that Fire Chief Hank Lipe anticipates using to fund preliminary designs for a new fire station was money that became available in the 2003 budget. The money became available when bids for communication upgrades came in lower than expected. Lipe is not allocating any money from the 2004 budget for fire station designs. Per terms of a lease agreement between the town and the Hampton Beach Village District, the town has to make efforts by 2005 to design a new beach fire station.
"The Hampton Union apologizes for mation in an article about plans for any confusion this may have caused."]