PLYMPTON – On Monday, March 20, 2017, The Plympton Public Safety Committee presented a plan for a new police station to the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee. The project, estimated to cost about $3 million, will be voted on at the Annual Town Meeting in May. If approved, the town will put the project out to bid.
Dan Palotta, project manager from P-3 LLC, helped present the plans to the board. He said he believes the project can be financed using the capital stabilization fund, which means property taxes would not increase for this project.
Details of the proposed police station were also given by the chief designer from Donham and Sweeney LLC, Jeff Shaw. The police station will be a little over 6,000 square feet. It will be stick built and slab on grid, meaning there is no basement.
Shaw said the board also considered modular buildings, but the cost turned out to be much less for this stick built police station.
The plan also looks into the future as Donham and Sweeney created layouts of future possible station expansion, a new fire station, and parking reconfiguration.
The police station expansion and new fire station are not part of the plan going to bid, but they are projects the town is considering doing later. Keeping in mind the space and limitations of the town’s lot on Palmer Road, these future projects were things the committee as a whole wanted to consider as they build the new police station.
Back at the Public Safety Committee Meeting on January 4, 2017, committee member John Wilhelmson mentioned he wanted to look at how the police station would affect other events on the property. He said, “How do you plan for events at the library and ball fields? “ He and the rest of the board wanted to make sure the parking works for everything.
Dan Palotta, told the board the plan they have now will add 29 new parking spaces for the police station, which may help free up some of the other lots.
Finance Committee members asked about connecting the new parking lot to route 58 to help solve the traffic issue. Palotta said they will do this if the town can afford it. “We will have designs for a connecting parking lot at bid.” If not, it can be used as a plan for the future, he added.
Overall, selectmen expressed optimism for the plan. Selectmen Chairman Colleen Thompson also chaired the Public Safety Building Committee and told her board how the Committee worked extremely hard through dozens of meetings. Selectwoman Christine Joy also mentioned how far the committee has come since last year.
Information on the new police station will be available to the public shortly. There will be an open house presentation at the Police Station on April 8, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by another open house on April 12, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Other items discussed at the selectmen’s meeting included annual budget discussions with the Finance Committee who spent some time explaining how different positions would be affected by the new budget.
In particular, the committee asked selectmen about some potential changes to the position of Town Clerk. The committee told selectmen that Town Clerk Tara Shaw is asking for another ten hours of work per week and an additional hour per week for her support staff. There was also discussion about rewriting her job responsibilities.
The Finance Committee wanted some insight into this. Selectmen Clerk John Traynor said, “The new Public Records Law (Chapter 121 of the Acts of 2016, “An Act to Improve Public Records”) is adding a tremendous amount of work for Tara.” Traynor added the town is also in the midst of working on a technology grant to give Tara software to make staying compliant with the new law easier.
Other budget discussion talked about a potential increase to the year’s reserve fund. More budget discussions will take place when the Finance Committee meets with the Board of Selectmen on April 10, 2017.
The Board of Selectmen also addressed some of the implications of recreational marijuana legalization and the impending retail markets planned for 2018. According to Thompson and the rest of the board, the town currently is leaning towards a one year moratorium which would keep out retail establishments for at least a year. This gives the town time to look at how the market becomes regulated at the state level.
The Board of Selectmen also voted unanimously to hear a complaint received in a letter of correspondence to the board. The complaint is about the gun range on Route 58.