Athletic Fields Could Be Kept With New Dartmouth Police Station
With Dartmouth’s town election a month away, the Police Station Committee held their final presentation Monday night for a joint Select Board/Finance Committee meeting.
Project officials discussed the overall project, and changes made since hearing from residents.
Coming in at around $13.4 million dollars, the new Dartmouth police station project is meeting last year’s estimated cost for a brand new building, when the town voted against a cheaper renovation.
That number doesn’t include other potential add-ons for the project, including solar panels and fixing up the two athletic fields in back of the property.
While the two options hadn’t been explored in detail yet, officials estimated the solar panels’ cost at around $380,000, and $500,000 to fix up the athletic fields to include retaining walls, dugouts, and other features.
Project Manager Richard Pomroy said the project estimates take cost inflation into consideration, so residents wouldn’t have to worry about paying more.
Pomroy also discussed the expected additional cost to the taxpayers with the new police station.
Voters will decide whether to approve a debt exclusion, which would raise taxes by about $62.68 for a median home value of $298,500 in year one of a 20 year bond. The cost would decrease annually, with the last year estimated to shrink to $38.16 for the same home.
During the presentation, Pomroy warned the numbers will only get higher if the project isn’t approved next month, with construction costs increasing by about 4% each year.
“if you choose to put this project off one year, or two years, or three years, your problem’s not going to go away. You’re in a temporary facility, which was meant to be a temporary facility,” he said.
As for changes made to the project since hearing from the public, Pomroy said they’ve received strong opinions on keeping the old Gidley School athletic fields.
While keeping the fields isn’t ideal for the Police Department, the project officials designed a walkway on the side of the building to allow public access to the area, which would hold a t-ball and baseball field.
Selectman Shawn McDonald came out against the fields, saying there are other options in town to build more athletic fields.
McDonald raised safety concerns over the idea, with police vehicles constantly moving in and out of the area.
“Because, God forbid, a police officer drives through and hits a kid,” he said.
McDonald said he intends to submit a request for funding to relocate the fields to a more suitable location in town.
With the Gidley School demolition already started and another 6-8 weeks to complete the process, the project would begin on June 7 later this year if approved at the April 4 election.
If all goes according to plan, the new Dartmouth police station would open for May 2019.