[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com.]
To the Editor:
At the annual town election on May 9th, Southborough has the opportunity to put the final touches on an initiative supported by nearly 91% of attendees at the March Special Town Meeting – to purchase the land at the St. Mark’s Golf Course and to construct a Public Safety Facility, with the remainder of the land subject to a conservation restriction in perpetuity. Voting yes on the ballot question allows the Town to exclude the debt from the tax levy limit. This is similar to what was done for construction of our schools, and will be the first debt exclusion for municipal (non school) purposes since 2006, when the Town voted the Chestnut Hill Farm Preservation Restriction.
The need for the project is unquestioned. The Town of Southborough has never built a Police Station. The Police Department is housed in a former elementary school building constructed in the 1920’s. The Fire Department is housed in a facility constructed by Fire Department personnel in the 1970’s. Neither facility meets the needs of public safety personnel functioning in the modern times. The most cost effective solution for the Town of Southborough is to build a new facility to house both departments, creating $2 million or more in cost savings over building independent facilities.
Our Public Safety Study Committee and St. Mark’s Golf Course Master Plan Committee held over 50 public meetings to document the needs of both departments, identify alternative sites, determine the best areas of the St. Mark’s site that are best for development, while identifying concepts to integrate the Public Safety Facility construction into the surroundings. Our Advisory Committee has reviewed the project economics and has determined that this is an affordable project for us to undertake at this time.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Town to control development that would otherwise have occurred on the Golf Course Property, while constructing a Public Safety Facility that has been studied for almost 15 years. By saying yes to this ballot question, the Town has a solution to its need for locating a Public Safety Facility, and has the opportunity to maintain control over this land.
Vote yes on May 9 – the polls open at 6:30 a.m.!
Brian Shea, Chair
Board of Selectmen
[Editor’s Note: Although the letter is written by Mr. Shea, he wrote it on behalf of the full Board of Selectmen at their unanimous agreement.]