Public Safety Building Update: Cruiser canopy approved for 19 spaces; November report

by beth on December 7, 2018

Post image for Public Safety Building Update: Cruiser canopy approved for 19 spaces; November report

Above: The latest report chronicles progress made on constructing the new combined police and fire station as of the end of November. (images cropped from newsletter)

It’s time for another update on the Public Safety Building project. The November newsletter came out. (Click here to open or scroll down for highlights.) Plus, the Public Safety Building Committee addressed questions about the approved $325,000 to add a carport.

Cruiser Canopy

The committee approved going forward with a 19 space canopy for police cruisers. Members passed up $75K in short term savings to instead meet envisioned long term needs.

As commenters on the blog pointed out, 19 spaces is more than the number of cruisers ever seen parked at the station. At last week’s meeting, the Chair addressed questions he had gotten as to whether the canopy should be smaller. He told the board that for a 30% shorter canopy, they could save 25%. That would cover 13 spaces, one more than the current number of cruisers.

Chair Jason Malinowski told the committee that the space needs report had determined that the police force would need 15 covered cruiser spaces in the future. He said that shortening the canopy would only meet current needs and not address growth over “next 50 odd years”. Members reiterated that the public had been promised that the building project would meet long term needs.

In the interim, the committee talked about using the extra space for the Fire Department’s storage trailers. In an earlier plan, the SFD had asked for a canopy for trailers. Based on cost issues, that request was withdrawn.

Member Kathy Cook of Advisory asked Chief Ken Paulhus if the cruiser canopies were just for protecting cars from snow. He said it was for all weather – including 90 degree days and frost in the mornings. He referred to people parking in garages to prolong life of the vehicle.

Cook responded that she didn’t believe a canopy would prevent frost. But she followed that if it was going to be built, it shouldn’t be kicked down the road.

The committee unanimously agreed that they should “do it right once” rather than leave something to be addressed in the future.

November Progress Report

According to the latest newsletter from the Project Manager, the project was 30% complete at the end of last month. The report also acknowledged the approved schedule change, extending : 

Phase 2 Substantial Completion date from July 1 to July 10 (there is one weekend and the Fourth of July holiday in the time period).

At this time, it appears the schedule has yet to be updated to reflect the negotiated change:

The schedule is still under review as CTA has not updated any dates due to their delay claim. There will be a meeting to discuss the schedule, and an updated schedule will be issued soon after for further review.

The only “Issue/Concern” currently noted is “winter weather conditions”.

The newsletter contains a whole lot more detail, including a slew of pictures. To read it, click here.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Richard December 7, 2018 at 10:16 AM

Not understanding the architecture. There’s a building to the left of the fire engine garage bays. There’s a staircase to the right of the fire engine garage bays. What happens 25 years from now when another fire engine bay or two needs to be added? If the staircase was located to the left of the bays, adding additional adjacent bays would be very easy. But, with a staircase in the middle? Not so much. Seems like this design does not take long-term growth into account.


2 SB Resident December 7, 2018 at 5:21 PM

The “public had been promised that the building project would meet long term needs”. We might have been promised that but no one said that is what we wanted. The people simply wanted two things, to get the police out of the dump they are in now and to keep the golf course from having an apartment complex built on it. No other options we ever presented. With those two desires, the powers that be were able to get a giant check written for themselves. I don’t understand everyone’s desire to overspend, but surely there are reasons. Maybe its just that saying no to people like the chief is hard, maybe its a power thing, maybe it’s cronyism, I’m not sure.

I can’t find another town in the state that has paid this much for a public safety building. To not trim costs where we can is simply irresponsible by the committee. It’s easy to spend other peoples money, but remember we all pay taxes and some of those people are on fixed incomes, some are unemployed, and others are doing their best and barely scrapping by. I can’t think of one other instance where we are doing more just in case we need it in the future. If the population is going to rise by 50% to justify the 19 spots, shouldn’t we be worried about having a bigger library, more schools, more recreational facilities etc. as well. The argument presented is ludicrous.

No one has any real idea what the police needs will be in 20-30 years. It is possible that autonomous vehicles will take off in that time frame. Car accidents and traffic enforcement may become a thing of the past. The prevalence of low cost security cameras and other technology will continue to drive crime rates down. House fire death rates have been declining for decades, building code updates, technology and the decline in smoking will continue to reduce the need for fire services. Ironically the one thing that will continue to see an increase in use and one I would support my tax dollars paying for are EMT services, but if you want them, you still get a bill for that ride. Crazy.

PS- I personally don’t really care about the canopy. The 75k is only 25 bucks to the average taxpayer, but this is just one thing that made public attention. How many other things are budgeted 50% greater than we’ll ever use or we are opting for the premium option. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.


3 BoSox December 8, 2018 at 7:20 PM

The Medfield fire station alone cost $19 million and that’s just a fire station- not combined with a police station. Things cost money to build these days. And As long as human beings are around there will always be a need for fire services. Doesn’t matter that certain fire stats are down- the potential is always there for the use of emergencey services. And to think that emt services for a ride to the hospital should be funded by tax payer money is silly – that’s why you have insurance. Tax dollars pay for the personal and equipment to help you when your sick or in an accident but the bill for your ambulance ride is health insurance related – as a tax payer I’m not responsible for your trip to the ER – that’s your issue going on .


4 SB Resident December 10, 2018 at 12:19 PM

The Medfield project was a dual complex just like ours and it’s actually a bit bigger. They came in under cost at 18.5 too and they have solar. We have about 20% fewer households than they do, so accounting for that 20%, 15 million really does feel about right for where our costs should have come in.


5 southsider December 13, 2018 at 10:06 AM

So the Police actually own only 12 vehicles but we’re authorizing a 19 vehicle car port for 1/3 of a million dollars.
When are all 12 vehicle simultaneously parked at the station now? I’d wager that the answer to that question is measured in some very few hours each month.

With a $600-$700 per year property tax increase being the best we can hope for next year, shouldn’t there be more concern about this?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: