The city plans to spend about $7.5 million to combine two fire stations, a police station and EMS facilities under one roof in the South End, at a new public safety center that could be named after late Police Chief David A. Provencher, city officials announced Wednesday morning.
“For far too long, the needs of our emergency personnel…have been neglected,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said at Fire Station 2, on Pleasant Street just north of downtown. “We will be constructing a consolidated public safety facility in the South End.”
Mitchell and several other city officials announced plans to spend $500,000 on a feasibility study and preliminary design for the proposed facility, as part of the city’s $5.5 million bond for its latest capital improvement plan (CIP). An additional $7 million, for construction, is planned in a capital bond during fiscal year 2017, according to city documents.
Mitchell and Ari Sky, the city’s chief financial officer, said the study and design work could take six months to a year, followed by a year to 18 months of construction. Fire Chief Michael Gomes said it will be New Bedford’s first new fire station in more than 60 years.
“No fire chief in New Bedford has had to plan for a new station since Chief Milton Andrews in 1952,” Gomes said, ticking off the names of eight fire chiefs who have served since then. “It’s a project I look forward to.”
The CIP’s five-year spending program also includes $950,000 for improvements at City Hall, including a fire alarm system and foundation work; $500,000 for upgrades at fire station 2; habitat enhancements and other projects at Buttonwood Park Zoo; and more. City Council will decide in coming weeks whether to approve the $5.5 million bond.
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