Voters Asked To Aprove $2.7 Million For First Step of New WPD, PW Facility

With Windsor's Public Safety Complex starting to show its age, town officials had been looking for years for a way to fulfill the future needs of the Police and Fire Departments, and also those of the Volunteer Ambulance and Emergency Medical Services. Another issue the town is facing, is where to house permanently the parks and grounds operations of the Public Works Department? The town used until recently a facility on Mechanic Street, that was torn down to make room for the Olde Windsor Station apartment complex. Currently, the town leases a space on Addison Road, to the tune of $120,000 a year. On Tuesday, January 17, Windsor voters will be asked to approve the first step towards a comprehensive solution: purchasing from Westinghouse the facility it has vacated on Addison Road, and agreeing to assume the costs for converting part of it to be used by Public Works.

“The proposed project addresses the needs of our Police and Fire Departments, as well as the need for a Public Works equipment and storage facility,” explained to the Windsor Journal Town Manager Peter Souza during an interview, Wednesday. “We are proposing to purchase an existing building which will allow for our Public Work Department to occupy it [now,] and in a future phase, it will allow our Police Department to relocate from Bloomfield Ave, to 100 Addison Rd. Following that, we will renovate the Fire Department facility, which is located on Bloomfield Ave, to meet the future needs of the Volunteer Fire Department.” As planned, the majority of the existing Safety Complex will be upgraded to meet the long-term Fire Department needs, as well as the future needs of the town's Volunteer Ambulance Emergency and Medical Services. The Addison Road building, on the other hand, will be upgraded to accommodate the future growth of the Police Department, and may even have enough space, Souza calculated, to provide opportunities for community spaces and meeting rooms, down the road. The cost for the complete project is projected to hover around $32 million dollars, but taxpayers are now asked to approve only the costs of the first phase: $2.7 million that will pay for the acquisition of the property and for small scale renovations in the building's mechanical systems and the driveway. “This project is in our capital improvement program for more than 6 years now,” Souza noted. “The existing building at Bloomfield Avenue is 50 years old, it's roof is more than 25 years old, and the heating and ventilation system is well over 25 years old, as well. So we need to do deferred maintenance and replacement, as they end their useful or expected life-cycle, during the next 2-3 years.” The town seems to be getting a good deal on the Westinghouse property. Listing price for the facility was $2.9 million dollars, while appraised value was $2.35 dollars. Souza had been negotiating with the company for many months, before the two parties reached an agreement. The average annual debt service on a $2.7 M bond issue, based on a 20 year term at a 3.25% interest rate , will be around $180,000, not much more than what the town pays now to lease the storage space for Public Works. The special meeting on the project will be held Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 6:45 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Windsor Town Hall.