New Fire Station Project
Project Website Available With More Information – Public Forum on February 17
To learn more about this proposal, including a frequently asked questions document, an interactive map of other sites that were considered, and a video tour of the current fire station, please go to www.bedfordma.gov/new-fire-station.
A forum open to the general public will be held on Thursday, February 17 at 7:00 p.m. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85697880909?pwd=SVY1M1MrbEo4MUlXbDg0aFVnNHpldz09
Following several years of studies and analyses of potential sites for a new fire station, the Bedford Select Board voted on Monday, January 31, 2022, to purchase the property at 139 The Great Road to build a new facility.
Over the course of several months, the Town has successfully negotiated a sale price of $1.55 million with Utah State University, the owner of the Stewart Radiance Laboratory. Per Massachusetts General Laws, previous discussions of land acquisition at Select Board’s meetings have occurred in executive sessions, which are closed to the public.
As the need for emergency services has grown, the existing fire station building, and site, do not meet the current and future needs of the fire department and the town. Shortcomings include, but are not limited to, code compliance issues, inadequate and outdated living quarters, and shortages of proper training and storage space.
In 2020, the Select Board proposed taking 171/175 The Great Road by eminent domain at a then cost of $7.6 million. Due to COVID-19 economic uncertainty, the Town indefinitely postponed the proposed acquisition. In addition to COVID-19 uncertainty, Town officials considered resident feedback regarding the proposed cost, as well as concerns regarding the use of eminent domain.
Town staff, along with public safety consultants, again reviewed potential site locations to determine if another parcel would fit the established criteria (lot size, avoidance of acquiring residential properties, and most importantly, emergency response time requirements) – this new review was expanded to include parcels within the Historic District.
Subsequently, the Town contacted Utah State University, owners of 139 The Great Road, a single parcel that fits the lot size requirements, and learned it was being prepared for sale in 2022. Analyses by expert consultants have determined that the site would be able to accommodate a fire station that fits the programmatic needs of the department. The sale cost of the property represents a cost savings of approximately $6 million compared to the 2020 proposal to acquire 171/175 The Great Road. In addition to financial savings, moving forward with acquisition of 139 The Great Road would lead to a time savings of 1-2 years in avoiding a lengthy eminent domain process.
“After years of studies, expert advice, and careful consideration of numerous options, I am confident that 139 The Great Road is the best option for the new fire station project. A new station will serve the Fire Department and the town by continuing our exemplary delivery of emergency services, meet response time requirements, and provide proper storage areas and training space. I look forward to engaging with residents and other stakeholders as this long-needed project moves forward,” said Margot Fleischman, Chair of the Bedford Select Board.
Emily Mitchell, Clerk of the Bedford Select Board, added: “Anyone who has toured the current fire station, or viewed the video tour, has seen that the outdated and undersized station needs an upgrade. Our firefighters, who work incredibly hard to protect our community, deserve a new station. I am thrilled that we have identified an appropriate site.”
After the vote to execute the purchase and sale agreement on Monday, warrant articles to approve and fund the acquisition of this property, as well as to fund design/ project management services for a new fire station, will be considered at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting.