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Author Topic: LT - Senior Director, Fire Chief Make Pleas for Funding  (Read 860 times)
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« on: September 20, 2012, 08:27:02 PM »

From the Londonderry times

Senior Director, Fire Chief Make Pleas for Funding
Jim Lockwood
Londonderry Times

Hearing from various town officials about the importance of their respective projects, the Londonderry Planning Board accepted the town’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) at its Sept. 12 meeting.

An advisory document that helps the town improve capital facilities to meet identified current and future demands of new populations and businesses, the CIP prioritizes capital improvements that town officials deem necessary, ranking them in order from most urgent to premature and inconsistent. The document also estimates the costs associated with each project.
While this year’s CIP did not recommend any projects for immediate urgency, there were a number of second-tier priority efforts identified. Priority 2 projects (necessary) include new school district offices, upgrades to Pettengill Road, highway garage improvements, and replacement of the sewer pump station at Plaza 28.
Priority 3 projects (ranked third of six on the priority scale) include renovations to the Central Fire Station, GIS (geographic information system) upgrade and maintenance program, an open space protection program, expansion of the Senior Center, and a new auditorium.
Senior Center Director Kim Bean spoke to the board about the need to expand the facility to meet the demands of a growing senior citizen population. She explained the need for the renovations in light of daily attendance averaging 45 people, and said an upgraded kitchen is needed to meet the number of meals prepared per month (224). She added that the bathrooms are poorly constructed.
She said the building, the old Mayflower Grange in North Londonderry, “requires modifications to meet the growing needs of our seniors.” In addition to those renovations, the project would include the addition of a multi-purpose room, two small meeting rooms, storage, office space, and expanded parking. The cost is estimated to be $600,000. The CIP targets the project for FY 2019.
“Renovations and expansions are urgently needed at the center,” Bean said. Town Council liaison Tom Freda told Bean that if the town’s budget were to fail, Londonderry would have to revert to a default budget, which Freda said would not contain funds for this project. Chairman Art Rugg added to Freda’s point.
“That sum of money, in these times, would be a hard sell,” he said. Following Bean, Fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie spoke of the need for renovations to the Central Fire Station.
He said the building, which was constructed in the 1970s, is in need of an addition to store more equipment and provide improved and updated facilities, such as a new kitchen, day room, sleeping quarters, laundry room, and fitness space. The current second floor area would be transformed into offices, MacCaffrie noted. MacCaffrie explained that the current facilities are small and inadequate, including the dayroom, which can accommodate about 10 people, and the kitchen. “You can’t open the refrigerator door without hitting one of the chairs or the kitchen table,” he said.
MacCaffrie also said the stairways do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The biggest problems with the building, MacCaffrie noted, were the 20-year old rubber roof, which has been repaired several times, and the chimney, which he said needs to be reconstructed. “Is it serviceable? Yes. Will we keep repairing it? Yes,” MacCaffrie said. “Renovations can get costly.”
He explained how fire personnel perform much of the maintenance on the building, rather than hire outside contractors, which saves the town money. The CIP estimates the cost at $1,650,000. Planning Board member Maria Newman responded, “It sounds to me like it needs to be a bonded project. It’s very antiquated.”
Conservation Commission member Mike Speltz spoke of the open space initiatives that are part of the CIP, a Priority 3 project estimated at $3 million. Speltz said the goal is to protect 44 percent of the town, a threshold that the town is more than 75 percent toward meeting. He said the proposed funding is to protect the areas that have not yet been placed under protection, allowing the town to meet that 44 percent target.
“There are some (areas), that if we don’t protect as a town, will be developed,” Speltz said. He said the Conservation Commission is hoping to secure the funding through mitigation and other agencies.
School District Finance Director Peter Curro said the School Board was looking at floating a $3 milion to $4 million bond for school renovations, a project that was pushed farther up because of current record-low interest rates.

Glenn Douglas
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