AUBURN — Voters on Tuesday approved up to $45 million in bonds to build a new public safety building.
The building will replace the Central Fire Station at 550 Minot Ave. It will also house the police and fire departments, both of which city officials said are in desperate need of new homes.
The vote was 3,392 to 2,405.
The cost of the project is estimated at up to $45 million, although city leaders stressed that the final cost may not be that high. With the average interest rate for the proposed bonds at about 4%, the city’s total debt amount over 30 years could reach $82.8 million.
The Auburn Hall Police Department is based at 60 Court St. Since 2011, a temporary solution at the time because its previous station at 1 Minot Ave. It needed expensive repairs. The site was only supposed to be a five-year solution until the headquarters was built.
A city-commissioned study found several issues with existing space and recommended that the best option for creating a public safety campus would be to build a combined central fire and police station on the Minot Street property.
Challenges facing police — who share space in Auburn Hall with other city operations — include space constraints, safety concerns involving inmates interacting with the public, access to officer safety equipment, accommodations for female officers, adequate locker rooms, and a lack of restrooms. And training. Space and storage space for manuals, equipment, uniforms and supplies.
The fire department lacks space for its primary ladder truck, which officials say must be centrally located. The station, built in 1972, no longer meets the needs of modern services, and lacks decontamination and training spaces, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and storage space, according to city officials.
Since the project was first announced in 2021 and ultimately approved by the City Council this year, the estimated cost has risen significantly. The original estimated price was $27 million, and this was to include a new Engine 2 station on South Main Street, and renovation of the Engine 5 facility on Center Street.
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