OAKLAND — The town has received residents’ approval to proceed with a plan to tear down and rebuild Oakland’s fire station.

The $2.6 million bond question passed in a 1,835-990 vote on Tuesday. As a result, next November’s election could be held in the new facility, if the project is completed on schedule.

Several voters voiced approval for the bond at the polls, noting that the new station would improve the town’s ability to respond to emergency situations.

“They’re firefighters,” said Lori Larsh, an Oakland resident. “They go out and they protect us every day. We should be protecting them in terms of equipment and buildings that they need.”

Angela Jurdak, another Oakland resident, echoed that sentiment.

“It should pass, without a doubt,” she said. “We’re an up-and-coming town and we need to support this.”

Two voters who said that they disagreed with the bond declined to elaborate on their opinions or provide their names for print.

On Tuesday, incumbents Dana Wrigley and Don Borman were re-elected to positions on the Town Council, defeating Kelly Roderick. They will hold the seats for three years. Wrigley received 1,650 votes, Borman got 1,524 and Roderick garnered 1,282.

Wrigley and Borman have been on the council for 12 and nine years, respectively. Roderick has run three times for a position on the council. Wrigley, 77, is a retired Central Maine Power Co. substation manager. Borman, 68, is a retired educator and administrator in the Regional School Unit 18 system. Roderick, 54, is a traffic safety educator for Atlantic Partners EMS.

Borman noted that he is eager to “keep the momentum going” in Oakland.

“I’m glad that I can stay on the council and see through some of our facilities projects, like the fire station project that got approved,” Borman said. “It shows the town’s support for what we’re doing. I’m looking forward to starting the process to hire the architect and building manager and lay the groundwork for the next steps of this project.”

Wrigley noted that the town is hoping to break ground on the “first warm day in the spring.”

“The building is outdated and useless,” Wrigley said. “It was good for a lot of years, but we’re at the point where we need something better and bigger. The modern trucks are so big that they have problems getting them in there.”

In two uncontested races, Laura Tracy was elected to the RSU 18 school board and Nathan Bernier, David Groder and Donald Ponitz were elected to the town’s Budget and Advisory Committee. Tracy will serve for three years. Bernier, Groder and Ponitz will serve for four years.

Polling took place at Williams Elementary School.

The fire station is the second of a three-phase project the town envisions to upgrade its emergency response and Town Office buildings. An initial plan to create a unified complex that would house Oakland police and fire departments as well as the Town Office was defeated at the polls in 2011. That project would have cost $4.9 million. The new police station was completed in 2016. Voters will likely face a decision about whether to approve a bond for a new town office in the next couple of years.

In addition to housing firetrucks and equipment, the new building will contain a conference room that can be used for town functions, including elections. Town Manager Gary Bowman said construction is scheduled to begin in April 2019 and conclude by that November. It will be built on land donated by Messalonskee Stream Hydro, next to the current fire station’s location on Fairfield Street.

Meg Robbins — 861-9239

[email protected]


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