Re-Think the Location
By now many Groton residents are aware of plans that selectmen have been advancing since last April to build a new 18,785 sq. ft. fire station in the open field on Farmers Row directly across from the Lawrence Homestead. We oppose this plan and hope your readers will take a moment to consider the following concerns in advance of Town Meeting:
Why purchase, rezone and destroy scenic, open land that is actively farmed, when the town already owns land close to the town center that could be used to build a fire station? This plan is inconsistent with the town's frequently stated priority of preserving open space, evidenced by such conservation efforts as the multi-million dollar purchase of Surrenden Farm. Furthermore, building on this parcel of land will undermine a source of livelihood for neighboring farmers and detract from the rural qualities that attracted many of us to Groton in the first place.
The size, scope and cost of the planned fire station are excessive. The proposed fire station reflects an extensive wish list, suggested by expert consultants and approved by a building committee that includes fire fighters as voting members. In addition, the building committee dismisses its three current stations as inadequate to the needs of their desired optimal program, even though the Lost Lake station was renovated 8 years ago at a cost in excess of $1.5 million. In the end, this new $7.7 million building will be expensive to operate and maintain, and will burden the town and taxpayers with debt service for the next 22 years.
Selectmen have exhibited unwillingness to modify their plan based on legitimate taxpayer concerns. Our elected leaders have not been receptive to concerns voiced by taxpayers and members of various town committees during public hearings on this matter, inflexibly defending their intention to follow an aggressive timeline for the planning and construction of the project.
If you agree that the town should rethink the location, size and expense of this plan, please support Articles 10 and 11 at the continuation of Town Meeting on October 29th.
Thank you for your consideration.
Debbie and Scott MacDonald