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November 15. 2012 9:59PM

Nashua holds off on selling site

NASHUA - Although city officials have made no decision on whether to sell a building now used as the Nashua Police Department's training facility, the police chief was told this week to begin looking for a new site.

Property at 82 Pine St. Extension where the police training facility is housed is one of 10 parcels that could be sold under a proposal being considered by aldermen. The 10 properties were originally purchased by the city for the Broad Street Parkway. They are no longer necessary since the roadway design was scaled back from four lanes to two.

Now, a proposed resolution has been submitted that would authorize the city to sell the 10 parcels, which are on the Pine Street Extension, Stevens Avenue, Everett Street and Pine Street.

"The training facility we've been using over 10 years is critically important to our organization," Chief John Seusing told the aldermanic Committee on Infrastructure Wednesday. Much of the training that takes place at the building at 82 Pine St. Extension is mandated, and about 25 other agencies also use the facility for various training exercises, according to Seusing.

Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly said the police department needs to have a training facility for its officers, but a training site may no longer be appropriate in that location. The purpose of the Broad Street Parkway project is to revitalize the Millyard area, she said. The training facility could be used for another purpose in the future, Pressly said.

Still, she believes the surplus properties should probably not be sold now.

Seusing said he has investigated alternatives, but he has not looked at other potential training sites. Preliminary plans have been floated to build a five-bay garage at the current police station, with a training facility above the garage and a separate room for an emergency operations center, the chief said.

But Seusing said that remains a concept, and he needs to keep his officers safe in the interim.

"We'll make sure you are not left without a place to train," Ward 3 Alderman Diane Sheehan said.

Alderman-at-Large Jim Donchess echoed the chief's concerns, saying the site is used for indoor weapons training and allows officers to practice hands-on, simulated drills on how to approach dangerous situations and take cover.

"I'm in no hurry to do anything with this," agreed Alderman-at-Large David Deane. "I think we should just sit on this and let the bridge be built."

The committee unanimously tabled the proposal seeking to sell the properties.

Meanwhile, the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved several changes to city traffic ordinances because of the Broad Street Parkway. The ultimate goal of the $37 million project is to connect Broad Street to the downtown area by allowing motorists to bypass Amherst Street via a second crossing of the Nashua River, possibly attracting more business and people to the Millyard Technology Park.

Heavy construction is expected to begin in the spring or early summer of 2013, with completion by December 2014.

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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at khoughton@newstote.com.


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