About 40 Newburgh residents who attended the annual town meeting on Thursday voted to approve funds to build a new station for the town’s fire department.
The new $2.3 million fire station will replace the aging one on Western Avenue that needs extensive and expensive renovations and maintenance, according to an inspector.
The new station will be built in the front portion of the shuttered Newburgh Elementary School on Western Avenue, which the town bought from Regional School Unit 22 for $1 earlier this year, according to the annual town report.
It will be part of a municipal complex that already houses Newburgh’s municipal offices and is home to an RSU 22 pre-kindergarten program.
In a Facebook post following the meeting, the fire department wrote the existing station was built by volunteers and has “served the town well, but the time has come for us to move onward and upward.”
Newburgh selectmen wrote in the town report that they have a preliminary design and floor plan for the new station and are seeking project estimates. They hope construction can begin in spring 2023.
The $2.3 million Newburgh residents approved comes from a loan of up to $1.7 million and up to $600,000 from its undesignated fund balance.
Keith Brown, an engineer from Washburn-based Criterium Brown Engineers, conducted a structural and mechanical inspection of the existing fire station in March 2017 and found the building to be in “below average condition.”
Though Brown noted the building “was a commendable project” for the volunteers who constructed it, likely with donated materials, building standards have changed, and the station needs to be updated to meet them.
Brown noted that there was structural rot on several sections of the building’s exterior in his report, available on the town’s website. If the building were to remain in use, it would likely need structural repairs and improvements to the building’s chimney, roof and exterior siding, among other deficiencies recommended in Brown’s report.
Newburgh Fire Chief Brent Somers did not return requests for comment Tuesday.