This is a Press Release from Public Works Building Committee
By Kurt V. Treiber, Jr., Chairman, Branford Public Works Building Committee
In October of 2010 the established an independent Public Works Building Committee and charged it with finding a permanent location for the . This committee did some preliminary work assisting the Public Works Director with the temporary move of the operation which was necessitated by the need to vacate the former site to allow for the construction of the . The committee gained some valuable insight into the operations of the department and allowed the members to more fully understand the Public Work’s role in the Town. The committee then developed a comprehensive strategy to undertake its charge.
The that would guide us through the next 12+ months and keep the project on task; it also developed a time line that would get us through project completion as the charge was to complete this project in 3 years. The committee consists of8members including the .
The first task was to outline a site selection process; we were interested in looking at all Town owned properties along with any private property that would meet the site criteria which was first identified during the initial joint Fire Station and Public Works Facility planning.
The committee obtained and reviewed the list of Town owned property, established site selection process requirements and site selection criteria. Two subcommittees were established to prepare a Request for Proposal for the purchase/lease of private parcels of land at the same time a second subcommittee developed a Request for Qualifications for engineer/architect services to assist the committee with a more in depth analysis of the sites. These two processes ran in parallel and the committee short listed the 18 engineer/architect submittals down to the top three.
Interviews and ultimately a final recommendation of the firm of Weston & Sampson was made to the Board of Selectmen. This firm has done over 60 Public Works Facility projects in New England. Funding was obtained to hire this firm and another subcommittee was formed to inspect and rank the four private parcels of land which the committee received in response to the RFP along with inspecting and ranking the three Town owned parcels of land that were identified by the committee. was held in May of 2011 at which time the public was invited to comment on the 7 sites and give feedback to the committee on these sites. The committee then assigned Weston & Sampson the task of performing a needs analysis of the current operations, reviewing the 7 sites and doing a fatal flaws analysis on each parcel. From that process two parcels were then chosen to have feasibility/cost analysis done. These two sites were the site and North East Industrial Road private parcel. Both sites present many positive attributes but each site has drawbacks. The committee was cognizant of the public’s concerns with the environmental issues at both sites and has included in the consultant’s report that during the design phases proper precautions be considered to protect both the health and safety of employees as well as visitors to the sites. The committee held several meetings to explore these two sites and in a unanimous vote.
We currently stand at the end of our charge with the . The Town has seen in the last year the important role that Public Works plays in the overall function of Branford. Need we be reminded of the or . It was very evident that Public Works plays a vital role in being a primary responder along with Police and Fire Services. The Town has a unique opportunity to site a facility that will complement the operation and poise it for future growth while maintaining its importance for the next 50+ years. The recommended site will provide the Town with the maximum flexibility to design a facility for today’s needs and for the needs of the future.
This committee has spent over a year looking at all the variables and taking a comprehensive approach to this project. The Town needs to act as the current location and current facility do not meet the needs of this important department. It is incumbent upon the residents of Branford to understand what this project is and how and why there is an opportunity to move this forward in a positive direction. The final report of Weston & Sampson is available in the Branford Town Hall office of the Town Clerk for review. We urge the public to attend the public meetings of the various Town boards as this project is discussed over the next few months.
Public Works Building Committee will hold a regarding the site on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at the at .