Municipal Facility Task Force talks new Peterborough Fire Station

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/6/2021 3:55:33 PM

Peterborough’s Municipal Facility Task Force held its first public forum last week to answer questions and gather thoughts from town residents on the future of the town’s new fire station.

“Our goal is to try to get people engaged,” said Fire Chief Ed Walker when he opened Wednesday’s meeting. “It’s a pretty big decision, we’re making pretty serious decisions for the town here.”

Two lead architects from HKT Architects, the firm the task force picked to consult on the project, led discussion among Peterborough residents on the project. Janet Slemenda and Bill Hammer also pointed out HKT’s credentials in the field, including experience with municipal projects and fire stations themselves.

“This is what we do a lot of,” Slemenda said. “We feel very comfortable.”

Slemenda also explained the project’s timeline goals, which are currently in very early stages. Community feedback on the project is vital to early stages, she said, and after this step, they will formulate a master plan for the site, complete survey work and design planning, and eventually have the plan evaluated by a professional cost estimator. Along the way, there will be opportunities for public input, Slemenda said, and when all of those steps are complete, the town will decide by vote how to move forward.

Residents at the meeting expressed concern about potential aspects of the project, most notably about the cost. The issue of making a new building fit into the town aesthetically was raised numerous times, as was the issue of sustainability.

Some attendees were worried that the project would impact the Community Center itself, leading Slemenda to clarify the goals of the project, which does not include any changes or adjustments to the Community Center.

A similar clarification was needed over the potential of the project including a new police station – Slemenda said that the full name of the project is “New Fire Station – Municipal Campus Design,” meaning that while the project will include a plan and design for potential future municipal buildings on the same site, the only one currently in motion is that of a new fire station. The goal, Slemenda said, is to not cut off any future avenues, and to design the fire station with potential future projects in mind.

Planning Board member Sarah Steinberg Heller, who is also a member of the task force, pointed out that the Fire Department’s need for a new building is “catastrophic,” and as such, she said she felt it was important that people understood that the fire station is the priority.

The architects also wrote down suggestions from the attendees, including ideas such as connecting the site to downtown via sidewalks, using brick to match the town’s visual look, and utilizing solar panels.

“I hope this has helped you get a piece of what’s going to happen over the next few months,” Slemenda said at the close of the meeting. “I’ve enjoyed this conversation.”

Walker asked those attending to spread the word and get as many people as possible engaged as the project moves forward.

“We’ll be back,” Slemenda said. “You’ll see us again, and with more than a white piece of paper.”


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