Selectmen OK Fire
Station Grant Application
$5 Million Grant: Town
would need to come up with another $1.5 million, plus
additional costs for land acquisition
By JILLIAN JORGENSEN
- The Board of Selectmen voted to allow Fire Chief Richard
O’Brien to apply for a federal grant to build a new,
central station, a move that would decrease response time
but cost the town additional money, during a meeting
The grant has a maximum allowance of $5 million, and does
not cover administrative areas, landscaping, land
acquisition or "soft costs." The new station, as
planned, would cost about $6.4 million, not including any
land acquisition costs, O’Brien said.
“If [the grant is] awarded, we would need approx $1.4 to
$1.5 million in addition,” he said.
O’Brien said the grant process, part of the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was competitive and
applications were scored based on how many jobs the
construction would create, the conditions of current
facilities, and how the new station would expand fire
coverage, O’Brien said. Points will also be awarded for
environmental LEED certification and other factors,
including 24-hour shifts.
The new station would not require additional staff,
O’Brien said, but current staff would be used more
The department has considered two sites for the new
station: one near the police station on Mast Road, and the
other on Elm Street on the east side of Goffstown,
The Mast Road location would bring the response time for
all of Pinardville, a densely-populated area with
"high-risk" buildings such as large commercial
properties and multi-family buildings, to less than 5
minutes. The Elm Street location would bring the response
time in the growing eastern section of town, where there
is currently an unmanned station, to less than 5 minutes.
Members of the board of selectmen raised concerns about
the cost and about the feasibility of keeping four
stations open, since either new location would overlap
with existing fire stations. No specific station was named
for closure, however, because no location had been chosen
for the potential new station.
Chairman Scott Gross said that unless at least one station
was closed, he would not be in favor of building the new
“Why we would need four is beyond me,” Gross said.
Steve Fournier agreed.
The board voted to allow O’Brien to apply for the grant
3-1-0. Gross, Fournier and Philip D’Avanza voted
yes, with Vivian Blondeau voting against the motion.
Nick Campasano recused himself because he is writing a
similar grant for Manchester.
“My vital concern is the economy,” Blondeau said. She
said the town would likely end up having to spend closer
to $2 million on the station, and would still have to pay
for the upkeep of the other stations if the new one did
not replace them.
But O’Brien said that response time, and the ability to
get to an emergency in a town split by a river that could
flood, were his main priorities.
“Is it realistic to say that we can have one central
fire station and that’s going to meet our response time?
I don’t think so,” he said.
Gross said that the $1.5 million that would be required of
the town would be the cheapest a new station would likely
ever cost, and he said the current stations are in poor
“They’re inadequate, period,” he said. “Sometimes
you have to invest money to make money.”
If the grant is awarded, it would be subject to a vote
from the town on whether to accept it, and the costs that
would come along with it.