BEDFORD, NH – As part of its continuing effort to inform community members, the Facilities Information and Communication Committee shares the following update on its work toward approval of the new South River Road Police and Fire Complex to meet Bedford’s long-term needs.
The Town is moving forward with a plan for a police station and fire substation on South River Road, following an extensive study of town-wide space needs. The current plan has been developed to address issues of risk, potential liability, and resident/employee health safety and welfare at the current Public Safety Complex at 55 Constitution Drive.
The proposal also addresses serious space needs by both public safety departments. Call volumes have increased significantly since the current complex opened in 1994, as has the number of first responders required to ensure the safety and security of Bedford residents and businesses, causing issues that need to be addressed.
The Town Council purchased the site for the new complex at 300 South River Road utilizing funds approved for this purpose at the 2021 and 2023 budgetary town meetings. The 300 South River Road site was chosen due to its proximity to the area with the most frequent service calls.
With this site placement, the town hopes to maintain its high standard of safety response, protect property values, and continue to make Bedford an attractive place to live and work.
Town Manager Rick Sawyer provided the Town Council with a preliminary cost estimate of $34 million during its Oct. 24 meeting. The Town is seeking another $2.5 million to renovate the existing Safety Complex and the Town Offices building, for a total investment of $36.5 million. The renovation will upgrade safety facilities and create space for other Town departments.
The Town proposes to pay for these improvements through the sale of a 20-year bond and estimates the 2025 tax impact of this bond to be $0.531 per $1,000 valuation, or $320 per year for the average $600,000 single-family home, which will decrease each year until the bond is paid off.
The Town Council will hold a public hearing on the bond on Jan. 24, 2024, at 7 p.m. at BCTV, 10 Meetinghouse Road. Residents will be asked to vote on the bond request on Election Day, March 12, 2024.
The Committee plans numerous public information sessions leading up to the vote, including tours of the existing Safety Complex, 55 Constitution Drive, which are being offered on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 6 p.m., and Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 1 p.m.
Information sessions are being offered on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m., and Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 6 p.m., in the McAllister Room at the Bedford Public Library, 3 Meetinghouse Road. Community members are invited to attend and ask questions about the proposal.
The Committee also has released a video providing an overview of current Safety Complex conditions, which may be found on Bedford Community Television’s webpage.
Future videos will provide an overview of the existing Safety Complex, showing the risks, liabilities, and safety issues that first responders must deal with daily, details on the layout and functionality of the new facility, and its estimated cost.
Residents may learn more about the South River Road Police and Fire Complex on the Facilities Projects page of the Town website. Residents with questions may contact Assistant Town Manager Jeanne Walker at email@example.com.