$3M grant for public safety complex; Brewer surprises Barre with unrestricted funds.

AuthorRussell, James F.

Byline: James F. Russell

BARRE -- A surprise $3 million grant to build a new public safety complex was delivered to Town Hall Thursday afternoon by state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, to cheers and a standing ovation from 100 residents, officials, police, fire and ambulance personnel.

For years town officials have talked about building a new facility to house the three emergency departments, but a lack of funds has stymied those efforts.

None of the buildings used for public safety has shower and sanitary facilities, and all lack adequate space.

Police are housed on part of one floor at the former Henry Woods High School, built in 1900 at 40 West St. and now used for town offices. They do not have private restrooms.

The ambulance squad rents space at the former Dick Beard Chevrolet and Pontiac automobile dealership at 10 Broad St. near the common.

The fire department has been housed at a nearly 200-year-old station in South Barre with headquarters at an aging, multibay facility on School Street that is too small to garage some of the large equipment.

Among the speakers Thursday was Fire Chief Joseph Rogowski, who described "the deplorable conditions in the existing facilities.

"I have been working under these conditions for 40 years,'' he said, and thanked his volunteer firefighters for enduring that challenge with him.

Mr. Brewer referred to a $4 million addition to the public library, the construction of a new senior center, and enlargement of the junior and senior high school that also included a new school administration building.

"We have waited a long time in Barre to do the next, best thing,'' he said.

The Senate chairman of the Ways and Means Committee told those at the ceremony that the unrestricted $3 million "public safety building fund'' grant is the largest earmark he had ever secured for any community during his 26-year legislative career in the House and Senate.

Mr. Brewer, 66, decided not to seek re-election in the fall. State Rep. Anne M...

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