BRUNSWICK — The Police Station Subcommittee on Tuesday recommended that a new police headquarters be built on the corner of Stanwood and Pleasant streets.
The Town Council reached the same conclusion last fall, but public complaints that that process was not transparent led to the formation of the subcommittee, which ultimately voted 6-3 for the same site.
John Donovan, John Perreault and Louise Ansari opposed the recommendation, which now returns to the council.
The committee earlier nixed a Merrymeeting Plaza site, which narrowed down the choices to the former Seabees housing site on Bath Road and the Stanwood-Pleasant property.
Some subcommittee members said they didn’t see much difference between the two.
“To me it is just determining whether we go to the (Navy) base or we go to Pleasant and Stanwood,” Perreault said. “Either site is the same.”
He then made a motion to formally accept the Seabees site. As the committee discussed his motion, many members said the Seabees property is simply too far from downtown.
“Brunswick Landing will never be a part of our town,” Bernie Breitbart said. “They are totally cut off from us.”
But Donovan said a station on Bath Road could help to unify Cook’s Corner and the downtown. He said the site could “integrate Brunswick Landing, Cook’s Corner and the traditional downtown area into one cohesive unit.”
Town Councilors Ben Tucker and Joanne King said developing the Seabees site could take a long time because the property must first be conveyed to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority and then sold to the town.
When MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque addressed the subcommittee in early March, he estimated that the town could buy the property sometime in early fall. But he made it clear that the U.S. Navy’s transfer time line can easily change.
“We need to move as expeditiously as possible, and timing is unclear on the base,” Tucker said.
“The time line is the most important thing,” King said. “Neither one is going to make it for me now because of the time line.”
But Ansari was unfazed by the uncertain time frame. “Sometimes good things need to take a little longer,” she said. “In the long run it’s a better site, there’s more acreage there.”
Proponents of the Seabees site also cited cost as a major factor. The Seabees property was estimated to cost $20,000 to $40,000 per acre for a three- to five-acre site. As of last November, the town had negotiated an approximately $1 million price tag for the Stanwood-Pleasant site, although that agreement has since lapsed, according to Town Manager Gary Brown.
Perreault said he hoped to use the savings on property costs at the Seabees site to build a more environmentally friendly police station.
But Breitbart questioned whether Seabees would ultimately be cheaper than the Stanwood-Pleasant site due to the uncertainties of land price and development costs.
The recommendation will be presented at Monday’s Town Council meeting. The subcommittee will meet again Tuesday to draft a formal report on their decision.
Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org