Barre sets June 4 as vote for new fire hall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Here is a rendering of the proposed Barre Fire Hall that would have three bays on one side and two on the back.

BARRE – Registered voters in the town of Barre next Wednesday will determine whether the Barre Fire District has permission to borrow up to $1.4 million for a new fire hall.

Voting will be from 3 to 9 p.m. at the current fire hall. The fire district is projecting the building will add $50,000 annually to the fire tax. That money was already included in the 2014 town tax bill, which set the fire protection rate at $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The $1.4 million represents a worst-case scenario for borrowing, fire officials said. The district will seek grants for the project that would reduce the amount of debt needed for the project, said Barry Flansburg, treasurer for the fire district.

The new fire hall would replace one that has been the Barre Volunteer Fire Company’s home since 1961. That building at 4709 Oak Orchard Road was originally a schoolhouse constructed in 1910. An addition was added in 1961.

The hall currently needs repairs and a roof replacement. It is also too small for modern fire vehicles. The most recently purchased truck cost an extra $100,000 to be custom-created to fit inside the small fire hall. Flansburg said the building also has limited space for offices, storage, equipment and HVAC. The site also has limited handicapped accessibility.

The new fire hall would be north of the existing one on Route 98 on the west side of the road, almost acorss from the Barre Town Park.

The new building would be 7,300 square feet with five truck bays, three on the front and two on the back. This will allow two of the lanes to be pull-through.

The new fire hall is estimated to cost $1.55 million. The Fire District has $150,000 set aside as a capital contribution and plans to borrow the remaining $1.4 million that would be paid back over 30 years.

Fire officials have been having open houses every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the current fire hall to take questions from the public. Fire officials will be there again this Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Flansburg said the new fire hall will not only meet the Fire Company’s needs for the next 50 years, but will also boost community pride.

“A brand-new fire hall will show Barre is a progressive community where people will want to be,” he said.