Council delays decision on funds for Portland fireboat crew quarters

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PORTLAND — Funding for new bleachers at Fitzpatrick Stadium, repairs at the Maine State Pier and a new bridge in Deering Oaks Park was approved Monday as part of the city’s annual $10 million capital improvements budget.

The $1.3 million set aside in the budget for new quarters for the fireboat crew, however, was removed from the appropriation while Fire Chief Fred Lamontagne researches less expensive alternatives for the crew quarters. The chief is expected to report back to the council within 30 days.

The original proposal was to rebuild the fireboat crew quarters in the Casco Bay Garage. The current quarters there are cramped and moldy, and the new fireboat does not have sleeping quarters. The garage is on the Maine State Pier, where structural work needed to support new quarters would be costly.

Lamontagne has been looking into alternatives, including leasing space on a neighboring pier or rehabing one of the department’s older boats as quarters for the crew.

Councilors said they supported funding new quarters for the crew and left language in the CIP order directing funds to be spent on fireboat quarters. The amount, however, will be determined after the chief reports back to the council.

“There is no question we need new facilities,” Councilor David Marshall said.

The remaining CIP appropriation of $5.3 million is earmarked for several projects throughout the city. 

The bleachers at Fitzpatrick are in disrepair, and the CIP includes $780,000 to replace them. The budget also includes $75,000 for a skatepark, $750,000 for masonry repair at Portland High School, $200,000 for a new bridge in Deering Oaks Park and $420,000 for repairs at the Maine State Pier.

The council in September approved spending $3.5 million in CIP funds to repay the Trust for Public Lands for money it loaned the city as part of a Bayside/Riverside land swap.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or