A state-of-the-art fire department that was twelve years in the planning has opened on Milk Street.
The fire headquarters replaces the previous fire station in the adjacent lot that was originally built in 1888. Supporters of the project said the old building may have looked okay from the outside, but the inside was full of cracks and leaks and had less than half of the space that was needed to adequately accommodate people and equipment.
“It may have met the community’s needs in 1888, but didn’t come anywhere close to meeting our needs now,” said Town Manager Jim Malloy.
He pointed out that if Westboro gets as much use out of the new building as it did from the old one, it would be the year 2150 before voters would be asked for a new fire station, well beyond the lifespan of even the youngest kids in the audience.
“This building only exists because you ponied up the money for it,” said Municipal Building Committee Chair Bob Brown, who was one of several speakers to give most of the credit to the taxpayers for the new building. Officials were quick to emphasize that the project came in at about $800,000 under budget, which drew a round of applause from the audience.
The new building has been open in various stages for about a year, but officials said they thought it was important to mark the occasion with an official ribbon-cutting and community celebration.
“It will create a safer and healthier work environment,” said Patrick Purcell, who was due to swear-in as Westboro’s new Fire Chief later that evening. Purcell said the department currently includes 35 career firefighters and six on-call firefighters, many of whom attended Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting in their dress uniforms.
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