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Merrimack capital improvement plan includes proposal for new public safety complex

Union Leader Correspondent

December 15. 2017 12:11AM

MERRIMACK — A proposal for a new public safety complex to house both the police and fire departments has been included in a new, six-year capital improvement plan (CIP) for the town.

Paul Micali, the town’s finance director, presented the recommended 2018-2024 capital improvement plan to the Town Council last week, highlighting infrastructure projects for the next several years and beyond.

The largest project included in the plan is tentatively marked for fiscal year 2019-20, which recommends an estimated $4 million public safety complex.

“As we looked at the cost of some of the repairs to the police station and the fire force, we felt that it might be best if we do a public safety complex and combine the two organizations at one location,” said Micali.

The plan suggests that $50,000 be set aside in the coming year to conduct a space needs study to determine whether a joint public safety complex would be beneficial.

According to Micali, the town’s police station was originally two separate medical buildings, one built in 1960 and the other in 1975.

They were remodeled in 1994 when they were donated to the town for police purposes.

The south fire station in Merrimack was constructed in 1973 and upgraded in 1987. If a space needs study is conducted, Micali anticipates the results could be available to town officials by the end of 2018.

Councilor Peter Albert, a former member of the Merrimack Police Department, said he would support the proposal for a new public safety complex.

“The department has outgrown that building in many ways,” said Albert, adding the fire department has similar space issues at its south fire station.

Other projects aimed for the 2018-19 fiscal year are significantly smaller, and include stormwater drainage improvements, converting three gravels roads to paved roads and relocating the Seaverns Bridge canoe launch to Fields Farm.

Items further out in the six-year plan include a proposed $6 million bond for a new library and $1.7 million for new athletic fields.

Additional funding for road paving is also recommended in the plan.

“We are trying to increase our paving each year,” said Micali.

The town is spending about $750,000 this year to pave local roadways, according to Micali. It is being recommended that $800,000 be reserved for paving next year, and $850,000 set aside for the following year.

In recent years, local officials have been trying to increase the amount of money being put aside each year for the capital reserve fund. For fiscal year 2018-19, it is being recommended that $1.7 million be used for capital reserve financing.

Local and County Government