The Town Council took the first step in renovating or rebuilding the North Attleborough Fire Department headquarters on Elm Street.
In a 6-0 vote on Feb 27, the council approved a motion requesting the Finance Subcommittee to transfer $125,000 in capital improvement stabilization funds for a feasibility study.
This will determine the cost, design, and equipment required to modernize the 100-year-old building.
Council President Justin Pare, Vice President John Simmons, and Councilor Darius Gregory were not present at the meeting and did not vote on the measure.
Town Manager Michael Borg said the study would provide a blueprint to build a better station as well as the price tag. He cited the purchase of new fire engines and the need for rapid response to emergencies as reasons to upgrade the station.
“We’ve been putting in a substantial amount of capitalization funds to sustain the station,” Borg said of the current building. “This would be the first step in determining what the exact requirements are and the potential costs.”
If approved by the subcommittee and the full council, the project would qualify as a capital improvement—a permanent change to structure or repair to a property.
At first, Borg and the council considered transferring $3 million in capitalization stabilization funds for renovating or building a new station. The price was an average estimate for capital projects of that scale.
After a conversation with North Attleborough Fire Chief Christopher Coleman, Borg said the best course of action was a feasibility study to determine the extent and cost.
“We cannot proceed until this is complete,” Borg said. “We’re moving towards undertaking this. It puts us in a position to understand the potential impacts and costs of a new fire station and fire headquarters.”
School Committee member John Costello, who attended the meeting, applauded the council’s vote and said he hopes the finance committee approves the study.
Costello is running for Town Council and said public safety is one of the most important issues he hears from voters.
“Aside from schools, public safety is the number one issue,” he said. “It’s been mentioned that the response time for our firefighters is going up, and the infrastructure of our station is 100 years old.”