Swanzey Fire Station

Swanzey wants public input as it starts the process of designing a new fire station to replace the unsafe Fire Station 2, located at the town hall.

SWANZEY — As it begins the process of replacing the unsafe Fire Station 2 located in town hall, Swanzey wants to hear from the public through a series of focus groups discussions.

“These meetings will allow a large number of people interested in a particular aspect of the project to attend one to three meetings on that topic as opposed to having a small group of people serve on a building committee that considers all aspects of the project and meets frequently,” said Town Administrator Michael Branley.

Voters approved buying the 4-acre property on Route 32 in 2018 for $125,000 to use as a fire station, and voters approved another $25,000 for the design and planning for the new fire station this year.

There’s no cost associated with the construction of the new facility yet, but a 2015 proposal for a fire station replacement put the price tag at around $4.5 million.

Fire Station 2 does not have a secondary egress, which puts it outside current life-safety standards for buildings. It also has so many leaks and cracks that diesel fumes from the trucks leak up into the town hall administration offices, making some of the staff ill, Branley has said.

In July the Town hired KCS Architects of Keene to assist in engaging the community and developing a conceptual fire station plan to be on the 2020 Town Meeting warrant for voter approval, Branley said.

Swanzey officials and Katie Sutherland of KCS Architects met last month with approximately 25 firefighters and emergency medical technicians from the Swanzey Fire Department to discuss their priorities, Branley said. Now the town wants to open the discussion up to the public at large.

Sept. 17 will be the building and construction focus group, Sept. 24 is the infrastructure, utilities, and sustainability focus group, and Oct. 3 is the community engagement focus group. All of the meetings start at 6 p.m. at Whitcomb Hall on Main Street.