Letter to the Editor: Fire Station Clarity Needed

~ Submitted by Terry Gleason

At Town Meeting we will be voting on two articles for a new Fire Station:

  • Article 8 Land Acquisition for Fire Station – 139 The Great Road
  • Article 9 Fire Station Design and Project Management [construction] – 139 The Great Road

From the wording, it appears that the Town is presenting this to us voters as if they have gone through all the protocols and oversight processes needed to get to the funding step for an “approved” site.

Other residents have already spoken up about the Historic District Commission (HDC) and their critical role before the Town settles on a site in the HD. Although some Board candidates and members assured us that the HDC would ‘of course be called on to review any design’ that is proposed, that entirely ignores the point that the HDC also has oversight on whether the current historic building at the proposed site can be razed.

Safety, Response Time, Location

Here is a Fire Station Map showing Bedford’s and the surrounding communities’ fire station locations. As you would expect, the communities and fire stations collaborate on all emergency (911) calls. In ‘East Bedford’ (Crosby Drive, Middlesex Trnpk, Mitre Corp, Flatbread Pizza, Oak Park, Village at Taylor Pond, etc), the closest and most likely responder would be the Burlington Station 2, located less than one mile from Bedford. Two Billerica stations can and do respond to Bedford 911 calls because of their proximity to our Town line as explained to me by the Pinehurst (Billerica) Fire Chief and the Burlington Station dispatcher.

We the voters are being asked to approve funding for acquiring an existing building in the HD, razing it, and then designing and constructing a new fire station BEFORE we know if the HDC will approve the removal. I suggest the Town withdraw the Articles as written and be more upfront about the response time safety issues.

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