Cumberland council to vote on fire station expansion

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council is scheduled to vote on whether to move ahead with expansion plans at the nearly 50-year-old Central Fire Station.

The panel on Nov. 14 may also enact on a moratorium on retail marijuana establishments, depending on the outcome of a Nov. 8 statewide referendum.

The fire station project, which would in part mean the building at 366 Tuttle Road would expand from one to three floors, could cost $4.1 million, according to a preliminary report presented last month to the Town Council.

The following items will be discussed, and could be authorized separately or together, according to Town Manager Bill Shane:

• Continuing the project’s Building Committee until construction begins.

• Authorizing Shane to enter into contracts with Portland-based Port City Architecture to design the addition.

• Authorizing Shane to work with the Building Committee to interview and choose a construction management team.

• Beginning the project in March or April 2017.

The Town Council in January formed a committee to look into space and storage at the fire station, as well as an inventory of the building’s apparatus, in order to develop a needs analysis, building assessment, and conceptual site plan for the department.

The town also selected Port City Architecture to produce a preliminary design report, which included the estimate – a figure shaved down from a $5.1 million total rebuild.

Most of the funding for the $4.1 million project is in Cumberland’s capital budget, according to Councilor Tom Gruber.

The project is not required to go to referendum, since, in Cumberland, the Town Council is authorized to OK the funding, according to Shane.

The expansion would take place next to the station, replacing a house the town bought more than 20 years ago and has since used for emergency personnel sleeping quarters.

Once the house and the station’s administrative section are demolished, a two-story addition would be built, along with a lower level accessed off a new 27-space parking lot. An existing parking lot with 22 spaces would remain.

The first floor would contain apparatus bays, administrative areas and community paramedicine space; the second would house living quarters, a day room, and kitchen and fitness areas. Training and medical equipment loan spaces, an emergency operations center, and a kitchen and community room would be on the lower level.

Marijuana moratorium

The moratorium on marijuana retailers depends on Question 1 on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot. The citizen initiative calls for the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana as an agricultural product.

The moratorium would give the town’s Ordinance Committee “some time to work with the new laws, if so passed,” Shane said Oct. 24. “If nothing happens, the item will be tabled indefinitely on the 14th.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The Cumberland Town Council on Nov. 14 will discuss a $4.1 million expansion of the town’s Central Fire Station.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.