Sitting in his 2,000-square-foot trailer, Director is not shy when admitting that he’s growing frustrated with the waiting process for finding a new home for his crew and their equipment.
So do you think you’ll ever get a new facility, Patch asks? Baker responds, “That’s what I am wondering…”
Currently the PWD is in their second year of to house their operation. Just before the winter of 2010-11, PWD was moved from their former home at 45 N. Main St., to make way for . , the FD’s grand opening is slated for May; PWD’s future is still in limbo.
“The town defiantly needs a new facility but I don’t see much support for it yet,” said Baker. “One of the problems is that we made it through a and a out of this facility and a lot of people, I’ve heard, say, ‘You’ve been through the worst at that facility, so you don’t need anything else.’ I am here to tell you that the facility is not what got us through that thing, it was the guys that got us through those events.”
, the Public Works Department Building Committee – Baker is a member – chose to erect their new facility on property off of Tabor Drive after reviewing five sites back in May 2011.
Then , the Branford Public Works Building Committee met with residents of the Tabor Drive neighborhood at Tabor Lutheran Church to present for their on the land taken by the town under eminent domain in the early 2000s. They also heard regarding their decision. At the time, the second-choice for the facility was a five-acre parcel costing $1,250,000 at 20 Northeast Industrial Rd., owned by O, R & L Associates.
Since then, the Board of Selectmen have asked the Public Works Building Committee to head back to the drawing board and consider three more locations as possible sites for their future facility: Bittersweet Farms (the most recent proposed home for ), Cherry Hill Glass’ current facility on Elm Street, and the temporary facility where PWD currently resides on a rental basis at 137 N. Branford Rd.
The details of the newly proposed sites will be made available to the public on May 1 when the committee meets again, but Baker offers the following preview of the properties:
Bitter Sweet Farms: Owned by A. Secondino & Sons, a facility would be built specifically for PWD and either leased or sold to the town.
Cherry Hill Glass: A relatively new space, encompassing more than 40,000 square-feet, would be sold to the town.
137 N. Branford Rd.: Owned by Dow Realty, a new facility would be built for PWD and leased to the town.
Branford will be creating a 50-year comparison for the leasing verses buying option for the town, according to Baker.
Baker said the building committee and the engineer firm Weston & Sampson hired to review the RFP sites, will be looking at the three additional proposals before their ; after, they will try to present some more information to the Board of Selectmen before moving forward.
One issue Baker finds is opening the proposal process in an unofficial manner; the first five sites were required to complete an RFP for consideration where the three sites proposed by the BOS did not. The three sites have submitted “random proposals” said Baker, “based on conversations with me on what they think we need.” He furthered, “What I am finding is that it’s not apples to apples.”
Since getting proposals back from Cherry Hill Glass and Bittersweet Farms, Baker said he determined that those owners would need to go back and look at set of minimum requirements and adjust their proposals and price to reflect that. Before the May 1 meeting, Baker said he hopes to have those proposals – adjusted for minimum requirements – as well as a fatal flaw or “matrix” analysis completed for each additionally proposed parcel. Weston & Sampson will be paid another $1,500 to complete the evaluation of these sites.
Will more proposals be accepted? Baker said First District Republican RTM member has three more sites in mind and the Giordano Construction Company has also brought up at site at 434 E. Main St., as a possible future home for the PWD. “If the Board of Selectman asks us to review those sites, of course we’ll have to but when does this thing end,” said Baker?