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  • Liz Markhlevskaya (

Farmington voters approve new public safety complex - Groen to construct new facility

FARMINGTON — Town residents on Wednesday March 9, voted in favor of building a new public safety complex, which will combine the Fire and Police departments.

The $2,363,000 building was approved in a 156-34 vote. It will replace the current police and fire stations, which are deemed by officials as being inadequate and structurally deficient. The new building will be located on town-owned land on Route 153, across from the Farmington Country Club. Close to 200 voters appeared at Wednesday's Town Meeting, and additional seating had to be provided at the Town Hall balcony due to the high voter turnout.

During the Town Meeting, Police Chief John Drury said the current police station was designed more than 30 years ago as a teen/recreation center. There are currently parking problems, structural problems including cracks in walls, and lack of insulation that results in high heating bills, he said. Drury also emphasized storage issues, saying the hallways in the current station are filled with filing cabinets. During bad flooding, the basement can look like a "swimming pool," he said. Fire Chief James Reinert spoke about the deteriorating structure of the current fire station, and inadequate space. He said the building lacks working fire alarms and sprinkler system, and does not meet the current building code. Selectmen Chairman Charlie King said the current fire station was built by volunteers in the 1970s.

He said after having the project go out to bid, Selectmen have chosen Groen Builders to construct the new facility. Fenton Groen of Groen Builders told voters that $2,363,000 is the guaranteed maximum price for the project. He said it will be a "longterm durable building" that will be highly energy efficient and constructed with Insulated Concrete Forms. Neil Johnson, who serves as Selectmen's representative to the Budget Committee, said officials are expecting annual energy savings of $20,000-$25,000 as a result of the new building.

"This is a longterm investment for the town of Farmington," said Groen.

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