On Nov. 6 Skowhegan voters will be asked to approve the construction of an $8.5 million public safety building to be located at the Madison/Skowhegan town line on the East Madison Road.

I support the construction of a new facility to house the police and fire departments but not at that location. Many residents have also expressed their support but think the location is too far from the downtown center, especially when you consider those homes and businesses on the south side of the Kennebec. I would agree, but there is another issue — constructing an $8.5 million building on that site poses a lost opportunity for Skowhegan.

As I travel through communities, I often note how the community looks and feels. Skowhegan has certainly upgraded its utilities. The municipal parking lots, signage, facades and the trees and floral displays certainly have made a great difference. Let’s continue that work by constructing a new architecturally appropriate safety building that would enhance any one of our neighborhoods and possibly increase the value of surrounding properties.

The town committee invested countless hours researching and discussing this project. However, it seems that the committee focused only on constructing a public safety building. They missed the broader opportunity to enhance the infrastructure and the look and feel of our community.

Unfortunately, I have to vote no. A no vote would force the selectmen to look at this issue again, and use a sharper pencil in designing a building with a smaller footprint that could be located more centrally in our community.

Let’s fund a new multimillion-dollar building and locate it where it will enhance our community, where all residents will readily see it, be proud of it, and appreciate their tax dollars at work.

Melvin Burnham

Skowhegan

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