Police & Fire

$902K in federal funds earmarked for Greenville Public Safety Building

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Public Safety Building project will receive a $902,000 boost as part of federal appropriations bills.  

Greenville Town Manager Mike Roy told the select board during a Dec. 21 meeting that the office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, had called to inform him of the omnibus funding package, which includes the $902,000. He said the bill still needs to be passed by the U.S. Senate and House before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. Collins is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“That’s very promising. I’m optimistic that will go through,” Roy said.

The Greenville Public Safety Building will house the fire and police departments to help with current outdated spaces and building code violations. It will be built at the site of the fire station on Minden Street, across from the town office, and will include a community room for public use.

“Once we have the numbers I will get the committee back together to have a discussion and bring it back to you,” Roy said about project funding revisions.

Residents approved up to $5,150,000 in bonds at the annual town meeting in June to finance surveys, demolition, construction and related expenditures for the structure. The bond is expected to be issued in May 2023, with plans to repay it over the course of 15 years, according to the warrant article.

In September Sheridan Construction Corp. of Fairfield was selected as the contractor for the Greenville Public Safety building. The firm had a bid of $27,070 as a maximum price for the design, geographical work and topographical survey.

The new building would cut energy costs, and better meet the needs of the departments and a community that has grown, leading to increased calls for service. Previous presentations listed a number of issues with the existing 6,400-square-foot building, including one bathroom for all firefighters and no showers, lack of storage space, no hot water and floor drains that back up and sometimes freeze in the winter, leaving standing water on the floor.

Roy had said the structure is Greenville’s largest energy consumer. Other issues are poor lighting, outdated rooms and snow damage to the exterior. Firefighters’ jackets and boots are stored behind fire trucks, so gear is exposed to diesel exhaust when the vehicles are operating.

An engineering report from Newport-based Plymouth Engineering said Greenville’s steel-frame fire station, built in 1963, is worn and dated. It remains structurally sound despite not meeting building code requirements, the report said. 

The police department, housed inside the town office, is struggling with a cramped space that doesn’t allow easy access to records and evidence for cases. Records are stored in a vault at the fire station.

Roy said there are “no detectable levels of asbestos found in the current fire station.” Therefore an abatement will not be needed, and this should be a to-be-determined savings in the project.

In the other business, the select board scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, Jan. 4 — time to be announced — before the next regular session starts at 6:30 p.m. The special town meeting will include articles on rezoning five East Road lots and the sale of a public works truck.

If approved, five adjacent lots on East Road — just after Stagecoach Road near the Greenville Municipal Airport — may be rezoned from the rural district into the rural development 2 district. The adjustment would allow the lots to be built upon if purchased. The expansion is in keeping with town leaders’ efforts to grow the area economically while preserving its rural character.

At a select board meeting earlier in the month, Roy said after the board approved a municipal lease purchase through Androscoggin Bank for a new public works truck, the dealer the town is buying its new vehicle from indicated it had no interest in the old model as a trade-in.

Instead, the truck will be put up for sale, but after permission is obtained via the special town meeting vote. The sale of town property for more than $5,000 needs the approval of residents.

Roy said the vehicle has had issues with its sander. “It hasn’t been sanding, just plowing,” he said. The town manager said the new truck could be in service sometime next month after being picked up and readied for the road.

He thanked residents and business owners who have helped clean up snow. Public works is down an employee so in addition to the two staff members, Roy and Code Enforcement Officer Ron Sarol have been driving vehicles and/or running equipment to keep travelways and public areas clear of accumulation.

“It would certainly be nice to have a workable solution to that problem,” Select Chairperson Geno Murray said about the on-going public works vacancy. Murray said he appreciates everyone for pitching in and the town is open to suggestions on getting public works up to full staff.

Select Vice Chairperson Newtown Pierce said after mulling the decision he said he plans to run for the District 3 Piscataquis County Commissioners seat in 2024. Current Commissioner Wayne Erkkinen’s term runs through the same year. Pierce’s select position runs through 2025.

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