Swanzey (NH) Voters Reject New Fire Station for Fourth Time

The town has pitched a new central fire station to voters in 2015, 2016, and 2020, with the proposal failing each time.

According to a report from Sentinel Source, voters in Swanzey, New Hampshire, rejected the town’s proposal for a new fire station for the fourth time in several years.

Over the past several months, Swanzey Fire Department (SFD) members and town officials have been advocating for a new station that they say would have offered multiple improvements over the existing central fire station beneath town hall. However, the $4 million project failed at the polls on Tuesday after winning a simple majority—625 to 495—but fell short of the 3/5 majority required. 

In addition to the fire station, voters also struck down an article that would have permitted the town to bond $600,000 to purchase and equip a new fire engine. This article also got a majority of the vote (643 to 464), but also didn’t reach the required supermajority. 

And voters re-elected Selectboard Chairman Kenneth Colby, while incumbent Town Clerk Ron Fontaine was ousted by challenger Heather Estrella. 

SFD Chief Bill Gould said he was very disappointed that the station, which would have been built on Old Homestead Highway, was voted down. He also said he felt bad for those who have been working to get a new station approved since the first attempt in 2015, but he felt most voters balked at the cost of the project. 

Swanzey has two other fire stations: one covering East Swanzey at 204 South Road and another covering West Swanzey at 34 Main St.

Swanzey officials said a new station would have provided much-needed additional space as well as more facilities for training, allowing the SFD to move its central station out from under town hall, where fire operations and fumes from the trucks can disrupt city business above.

The town has pitched a new central fire station to voters in 2015, 2016, and 2020, with the proposal failing all three times. The 2020 vote came the closest to passing, with the station being supported by a majority of voters, but not enough to achieve the needed supermajority. 

In 2020, the proposal fell short by just 5.3 percentage points of the 60 percent needed; this time, it missed by just 4.2 percentage points.

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