Facilities Steering Committee, Phase II
Town of Princeton, MA
meeting minutes for 9/24/18
7pm at town hall annex
Attending for the committee: Richard Chase, Noelani Chase, Rick McCowen, Dennis Moore, Larry Todd
Public safety: police chief Michele Powers and deputy fire chief Tim Kelly.
There were also six members of the public in attendance
The meeting was opened at 7:00 pm.
The minutes of 9/17/18 and 9/20/18 were approved.
Those present introduced themselves and Karen said she is the selectboard liaison with the facilities steering committee II.
There was a brief discussion of some of the questions previously reviewed. The first set of questions is written up for mailing by the PMLD and will also be posted on the town website.
The committee needs to continue to find ways to get information out to the town. We will talk about posting to Next Door at our meeting next week. The committee will aim to communicate a limited number of questions each week.
Karen commented we should put the same information on Next Door that we post on the town website.
Tim was asked about possible FEMA grants. He explained they are very limited and currently offered only to repair or improve existing facilities. Possibly we could go after money to provide needed equipment for the new facility such as a washer and dryer.
Tim was also asked about the Devens fire station but said after plans were made up the community did not proceed. The committee is still looking for information on other public safety projects.
Police Chief Michele Powers spoke about the needs of her department. She said a regional lockup has just begun construction and may be a resource in the future.
The current police facility is unsafe: the lockup is in the middle of the work area, storage of drugs and firearms is scattered. She observed prisoners have become more unruly and noted the opioid epidemic has not spared Princeton.
Princeton is part of a regional mutual aid group where police from neighboring towns will help each other, and the state police also offer assistance, but these arrangements are only to supplement the Princeton police as needed. There may be a cost associated with using resources from other communities.
Chief powers currently has a staff of 6 full time and 10 part time officers. She expects the department needs to grow as the town grows.
Discussion related to the center school building:
Deputy fire chief Kelly said he did a walk through with the building inspector in August, 2017, and there were many deficiencies and safety issues noted. There was no written report but the building was closed to public use. (The JWA report, written after August, 2017, included a review by a structural engineer, indicated part of the building could be incorporated into a new facility.)
Matt Lindberg from the Princeton Historical Commission spoke and felt the building represents a historical period in the town’s history and given this the town should be careful in considering the
Options for the building. Larry noted the building is part of the Princeton Center National Historic District.
Richard noted the FSC2 is trying to respond to concerns about the cost of a new public safety building and should look for ways to lower the estimate of $7 million.
Edith commented that perhaps there should be plans showing both options, incorporate part of the existing building and a completely new building.
Also in attendance was an architect, Takato Oji, who is currently building a home in Princeton. She offered comments about the process of looking at a project. She said she knew an architect who does a lot of work on public safety buildings in the commonwealth and will reach out to them. She will ask if they could attend a meeting of the FSC2 and the committee agreed this could be helpful.
Rick noted we are asking the town for money to design a facility, in total or some part of the design.
Richard spoke about the meeting on 9/20 with Deb Cary regarding the state bond bill which contains $9 million for the Princeton public safety project. The state funding may be dependant on the project having 100% construction documents ready when the money becomes available. There is no certainty our request will be funded.
There was a question about the route 140 project and how the town ot the state money. Edith commented the town had people working closely with the state DOT and this relationship was critical to getting the funding. She said Nina and the BOS are working hard on keeping Princeton in front of our legislators.
The committee agreed we need to keep working on informing the voters so the town can get on with the design phase. Can we say we are working to reduce the $7 million cost ?
Richard noted the FSC2 has its own email address.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.
The next scheduled meeting is on 10/1/18, 7pm at the town hall annex.
Submitted by Larry Todd, clerk