In April, 14 residents filed a complaint against the Town alleging procurement violations regarding the acquisition of 139 Great Road for a new fire station. A Superior Court judge denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the sale, stating that she found no likelihood of success on the merits of their claims.
At the same time, abutters to the 139 Great Road property, Carol Amick and William Moonan, independently and without informing the Town or the public, approached the current property owners, Utah State University, and the Utah System of Higher Education. Having lost in an effort to stop the purchase at Town Meeting and in court, the abutters offered to purchase the property for $1.7 million, $150,000 over what Town Meeting had voted to fund and which had been accepted by the owners.
Unfortunately, after receiving this higher offer, the Utah System of Higher Education requested that the Town match it. To ensure we can uphold the clear vote of Town Meeting, we plan to vote this afternoon to support the use of $150,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase the Town’s purchase price to $1.7 million. ARPA guidelines do not require Town Meeting appropriation.
The Town of Bedford ARPA plan, approved by the Select Board on July 12, 2021, supports Town/School COVID-19 recovery efforts, and expansion of water/sewer infrastructure on Middlesex Turnpike. Utilizing ARPA funds will allow the Town to match the increased purchase price without having to request additional funding from taxpayers or call a Special Town Meeting. The use of ARPA funds for the fire station project will reduce the funding available for the water/sewer infrastructure expansion project.
We look forward to the next steps on this important project, including hiring an owner’s project manager and architect, establishing the building committee as approved by Town Meeting, and working with the Historic District Commission, neighbors, and other stakeholders to build the fire station our community so desperately needs and deserves.
Lastly, we are grateful for the outpouring of support and offers of financial assistance we have received in the last week from all corners of the community. It is gratifying to know how much Bedford values its first responders and understands the critical need for this new facility so our firefighters and paramedics can continue to provide excellent care and emergency services to the Town.