OAKLAND — A public hearing on a plan for a proposed new police station will be held Thursday night and another next week in advance of a Nov. 3 referendum on the plan.

Thursday’s hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Williams Elementary School on Pleasant Street. Another is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at the school.

The Town Council and the Budget Advisory Committee have recommended the town build a 3,800-square-foot station to replace the aging farmhouse on Fairfield Street where the department is headquartered. The project is estimated to cost up to $1.05 million, and town officials are proposing to borrow $900,000 and use $150,000 in reserve cash to pay for the building.

Town Manager Gary Bowman on Tuesday said public response to the plan has been positive. People have come into the office with questions, but so far he has heard no resistance to the proposal.

“People understand that we need to address some of our facilities,” Bowman said.

The house that serves as Police Department headquarters was built in the early 20th century and never was intended to be used as a police station. Town officials say the building’s layout is dangerous for officers and the public and does not comply with accessibility rules. Other problems include leaks, inadequate document and case file storage, little training and locker room space and the fact that the building has only one bathroom.

The single-story wooden building proposed by the town would be built at the location of the current station. It would include offices, interview rooms, common space, toilets for men and women and a locker room. The setup would allow police to keep people who are arrested in a separate area of the building.

The proposed building also includes a 650-square-foot room used for training and Town Council meetings and a sally port with room for two police cruisers.

Officials have said they kept the cost down as much as they could when designing the station, and it has few amenities that could have increased the price.

The cost factor is a source of anxiety for building proponents. In 2009, voters rejected a proposed $4.5 million municipal complex, and there have been multiple rounds of fights over school spending in Regional School Unit 18, which includes Oakland. Those experiences have made public officials sensitive to voter concerns about increased taxes.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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