Cumberland fire station expansion could cost $4.1M

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CUMBERLAND — Expansion of the nearly 50-year-old Central Fire Station from one to three floors could cost $4.1 million, according to a preliminary report presented Monday to the Town Council.

The panel in January formed a committee to look into space and storage at the 366 Tuttle Road building, as well as an inventory of the station’s apparatus, to come up with a department needs analysis, building assessment, and conceptual site plan.

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

“The goal is to make sure that we design something that’s going to last for the next 30-50 years,” committee Chairman Jim Orser told the council.

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

“We’re still working out the specific details, but (the project) will add 6 cents to the mill rate, as presented here tonight,” Town Manager Bill Shane said, noting that the numbers are preliminary, and could possibly decrease when the project goes out to bid.

Since Town Council authorization for the funding is allowed in Cumberland, the project is not required to go to referendum, Shane added.

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

After 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, while 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.

Committee Vice Chairman Brian Cashin noted Cumberland’s population increased from 4,096 in 1970 to 7,211 in 2015, while the number of fire and rescue incidents has climbed from 189 between 1966-70 to 1,241 between 2011-15.

At the same time, the staffing level shrunk from 91 to 36, Cashin said.

A public meeting on the project will be held at Town Hall at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, followed by an open house at the fire station from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 24. The committee will deliver a final presentation and recommendation to the Town Council Nov. 14, when councilors may vote.

Plans could be solicited early next year, with the project going out to bid in late 2017 and completed in 2018.

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

An expansion to the Cumberland Central Fire Station could cost $4.1 million, according to preliminary budget numbers.

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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.