WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Firefighters get a long-overdue new station at Little River Road.
City Council unanimously passed the allocation of $2.06 million to complete the total amount needed to build a new fire department substation on Little River Road. The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.68 million. Construction will begin soon, and is expected to take nine months.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Fire Chief Mary Regan said. “We know exactly what our costs are going to be. We believe we have enough money to fund the project without asking for additional funds.”
According to Regan, the project was initially pitched to the Mayor’s office in 2001.
And although the cost is high, the money allocated is coming from the “ambulance designation fund,” and can only be used for particular projects.
“I think it’s expensive, but we have the money and we can’t use it for anything else,” At Large City Councilor David Flaherty said during his finance committee’s meeting discussing the project.
The current station was built in 1973 and has no air conditioning, one bathroom, needs windows replaced and needs roof repair. Additionally, the station can currently only house two crew members, so if they go on a call, then the station must be shut down. And according to City Council, this happened 500 times last year alone.
Also, any incidents related to fire must be responded to by the firefighters from the main fire station, since the current building on Little River Road houses one ambulance and no fire apparatuses.
The new building, which was designed by P3 Project Planning Professionals from Norwell, Mass., will be able to house four crew members, have larger space for more emergency vehicles, more modern electronics, locker rooms, multiple bathrooms and a classroom. The building is also being petitioned by Regan as a potential multi-use building for the department.
“The project is long overdue and the renovations are much needed,” At Large and City Council President Brent Bean II said.
Amy Porter also contributed to this story.