POLITICS

Public Safety Facility Building Committee Deems New Police And Fire Structure "Feasible"

By Kristen Arute, Hingham Current Staff; October 11, 2020
Schematic of proposed Public Safety Building at 335 Lincoln Street

In June, the Public Safety Facility Building Committee was created by Town Meeting. Its charge was “to oversee the feasibility study, design, and construction of a new Public Safety Facility to be located at 335 Lincoln Street.” The Committee consists of seven members who were appointed by the Moderator and the Board of Selectmen, and the Police Chief and the Fire Chief act as ex-officio, non-voting members.

 

The Town hired Kaestle Boos Architects (KBA) to conduct a feasibility study and develop a schematic design for the new facility. They were asked to provide three pieces of information to the Committee which would help them determine the feasibility of moving forward to final design and construction at that site. According to the Town of Hingham website, those three items were:

  1. A conceptual architectural design for one building that will accommodate the needs of a new Police headquarters and new North Fire Station to replace and upgrade the separate existing facilities for each of those uses;

  2. A draft site plan which demonstrates whether the building and necessary appurtenances, such as parking and access, can be located on the site based on the physical condition of the site and consistent with zoning; and

  3. A cost estimate (soft and hard costs) for development of the project on the site.

 

During their meeting last week, the Public Safety Building Committee determined that the project was, in fact, feasible, and voted unanimously to move it forward. The building would be 55,000 square foot, three-story structure located on the north side of route 3A, and it would house the Police Department headquarters and a Fire Department station which would replace the North Street station. Based on the review of the information provided by KBA relating to the expected fire and police usage requirements and parking requirements and the conceptual design options as well as the information regarding the property, “the Committee has determined it is feasible to locate a new public safety facility on the 335 Lincoln Street property.”

 

A cost estimate is expected to be provided during a joint meeting of the Public Safety Building Committee, Advisory Committee (AdCom) and Board of Selectmen this week. That meeting will take place on Tuesday night, and the outcome of the discussion will determine whether or not the Town will hold a Special Town Meeting in November. Residents would vote on authorizing the Selectmen to purchase the property at 335 Lincoln Street. Plymouth County CARES funds, which are provided to  municipalities in Plymouth County to help cover COVID-related expenses, could be used by Hingham to cover the cost of a Special Town Meeting.

"The next meeting of our committee is scheduled for October 13th, 2020," said Chair Bob Garrity. "How does that fit in with the Selectmen's, what's the word we're using now?, 'socialization' of the project?" Town Administrator Tom Mayo explained that Garrity would attend and share the Committee's vote with the Selectmen, and KBA would also be present and would make a presentation on the project, which can be found here. The meeting had already been scheduled. Therefore, based on the timing of it as well as the closure of Town Hall on Monday due to the holiday weekend, Committee members would not be able to meet formally; however, one or two representatives would be allowed to speak. They could share their findings and introduce KBA.

"If either the Board of Selectmen or the Advisory Committee thinks it would be helpful to have this Committee or a quorum of this Committee available for questions at future meetings," suggested Land Use Attorney Susan Murphy, "then I guess they could always direct that through the Chair to kind of ask and it could get posted." She recommended that everyone stay in communication so that the Public Safety Facility Committee could be present at all upcoming meetings that are combined meetings of the Selectmen and AdCom.

Public Safety Facility Building Committee members:

  • Robert Garrity, Chair

  • Paul Healey, Vice Chair

  • Joseph Kelly

  • Tally Lauter

  • Bruce MacAloney

  • Donna Smallwood

  • Andy Touchette

  • Police Chief David Jones, ex-officio, non-voting member

  • Fire Chief Steve Murphy, ex-officio, non-voting member

Kristen Arute can be reached at kristen@hinghamcurrent.com.