CLINTON — Selectmen next week will consider a design proposal for an expanded police station as they work toward improving the town’s public safety buildings.

The police department has faced significant challenges in recent years with its limited space. Two years ago the town’s insurance provider said officers could not bring people placed under arrest into the station because there was no way to keep them separated from the public.

So officers have had to bring those in custody to other departments in the region to process them, most often to Winslow. The Clinton police station at this point is just a spot for officers to complete paperwork, police Chief Stanley “Rusty” Bell said.

“You’re never using your own desk or computer; you’re not in your own house,” Bell said. “So we’re accessing our stuff from (Winslow), but it’s just working out of someone else’s office.”

Meanwhile, voters last month approved the purchase of land to build a new fire station. The fire department has outgrown its current building, fire Chief Travis Leary said. It’s crowded with vehicles and equipment now, and if the department ever needs to buy a new firetruck, those trucks are even larger, and the department would lose what little wiggle room it has now.

Selectmen last fall acknowledged both departments’ problems and created a public safety building committee to come up with a 50-year plan to meet the needs of each department, committee Chairman Jeffrey Pierce said.


At first, the committee considered one large building to house both departments, Pierce said, but the panel concluded that it would be too expensive and too difficult to find a suitable site for such a large building. So the project was split in two.

The committee began with the police station — since the force was facing a more urgent problem — and decided that the best option would be to expand the Town Office.

The town now has a preliminary design, which selectmen will consider at the board’s meeting Tuesday, Town Manager Earla Haggerty said. It would expand the building back, adding about 2,500 square feet — but still leave plenty of space for the park behind the office.

If the board approves the design, Haggerty said, the town will take it to voters next November. If the project is approved at that time, the earliest construction could begin is spring 2023.

While the committee had decided to tackle the police station first, Leary and the committee had been keeping an eye out for a possible site for the new fire station. And when the property next to the Town Office, at 37 Baker St., became available, it seemed like an ideal location.

So in the fall, selectmen signed a purchase and sale agreement for the property, agreeing to pay $120,000 — with the condition that it was approved by voters in November. And come Election Day, residents overwhelmingly did.


“I’m very happy that the community is supporting both us and the police department moving forward because we obviously do need to have the space to grow,” Leary said. “And this is the first step in doing that.”

The town hopes to demolish the building now on the property sometime next year — but not until the new budget includes the cost.

At the selectmen’s Tuesday meeting they will also consider a request for $7,000 to begin site review and preliminary designs for the fire station, but the soonest that would likely get to voters for construction approval would be 2024, Haggerty said.

And while it may seem like a lot of progress has been made in the last year, the committee remains focused on finding long-term solutions, Pierce said.

“This is something that needs to fit the town for a long time,” he said. “We don’t want to have to try to come back to the town in three years, five years, even 10, 20 years from now and say, ‘We messed this up and we need to do it over again.’ So we’re being very meticulous. We’re not rushing the process.”

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