The Board of Selectmen reversed course on a feasibility study for the police station after a citizens petition was filed in favor of it.
The board previously voted against a feasibility and needs assessment for the future of the police station, opting instead to hire a contractor to finish the partially completed renovation project currently on hold.
The Police Association is demanding an apology from Selectmen Robert Ericson for a comment he made during last weeks board meeting.
Ericson was advocating for a question related to the potential future of the police station be put to a secret ballot instead of a the traditional card raising held at town meeting when he said residents are afraid to vote against the police officers or else they won't show up.
For those unfortunate enough to be "guests" of the Williamstown Police Department, the cells will be accessed through an interior door that opens into the department's new sally port. Starting in July, officers will be able to drive into the building into the port -- like a garage -- close the exterior door and escort detainees into the holding area.
At about 7:30 Tuesday night Chairman of the three-member Board of Selectmen John Goerlach asked for a motion. And there was silence.
The board had just spent an hour and a half critiquing a request for qualifications to find a firm to conduct a needs assessment and feasibility study for a Police Station. It included looking at potential renovations to the current station, building new on a parcel near Laston Field, or renovations to building on the existing Vacation Village property.
A third-party inspector is expected to file a report on the condition of the current Police Station as town o officials prepare to release a request for a feasibility study on the department's needs.
Town Manager Kelli Robbins said on Monday that a state building inspector was in town reviewing the renovation plans for the current station and is scheduling an inspection soon. The Board of Selectmen had asked somebody from the state to provide an independent assessment of the 151-year-old buil
Town Manager Kelli Robbins hopes the $13,000 town meeting approved to renovate the police station is enough to do a feasibility study for a bigger project.
Robbins told the Board of Selectmen on that she is putting together a request for qualifications to do a needs assessment on a headquarters for the Police Department. The assessment would be the step needed to not only get cost estimates for various options but also a requirement to get funding to do a project.
The town is hoping the state will fund reconstruction of the sidewalks on Summer Street.
On Monday the Board of Selectmen agreed to file an application with the state's Complete Streets program with rebuilding the sidewalks from Route 7 to the school as a top priority. The town can apply for up to $400,000 from the program per year.
The Selectmen are looking to address the condition of the Police Station, which grew in urgency after the town's insurance company called for it to be vacated, and that Route 7 property is a potential.
The Board of Selectmen are looking to temporarily move the Police Department to another location.
The town's insurance company issued a report recommending the current Police Station be vacated by employees because of the condition of the building. Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association inspected the building in October and cited a number of concerns and ruled that it is unsafe.
Following a homicide in the fall, residents of the westside came together calling for more to be done for public safety.
One of those ideas was to open a police substation in the neighborhood. To help answer questions of funding it, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Carolyn Valli offered space in their Columbus Avenue building for it. Now, three months later, they're looking for volunteers to staff it.
The town's insurance company has threatened to close down the Police Station, according to Town Manager Kelli Robbins.
Robbins told the Selectmen on Monday that an insurance representative toured multiple town buildings and was "very upset" with the conditions at the station. The insurance company apparently told Robbins that the building is now being placed into a "high risk" category, which will increase the cost to insure it. The state's Division of Labor standards has also been notified o
Greg Devlin of the owner's project manager, Architectural Consulting Group, appeared before the board to give members an update on the renovation and expansion of the former Turner House on Simonds Road.
The town voted to fund the renovation of the Police Station but will also consider a feasibility study for a new station in the future.
At a special town meeting Tuesday, voters approved transferring $13,00 from other accounts to pay for the renovations Selectmen Robert Ericson has undertaken. But, that wasn't without a push to use those funds instead for a feasibility study for a new station.
A special town meeting will ask voters for approval to fund renovations to the police station, restore the cupola on town hall, and switch the regular town meeting to Saturday, among other topics.
The special town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 23 at 6 p.m. to vote on 10 articles. Three of the articles asks to move money around for the police station renovation, a project already done but is missing a source of funds.
The private water district was taken over last year by the town because of the cooperative's difficulty in finding trustees and addressing the significant infrastructure upgrades required for the more than 30-year-old district.
Selectman Robert Ericson has missed the deadline given to him to complete the third phase of renovations at the police station.
The retired engineer took on the project after touring it in 2014. He is part of the town's energy committee and has headed efforts with the Green Community Act. In late 2014 the town decided to install a new boiler system for the poorly heated 1800's building.
Several residents, however, had questions and concerns about the new police station on Simonds Road, and town meeting voters heard from both the town manager and the chief of police before authorizing the $5 million bond by a voice vote. This vote also wasn't unanimous.
More than a century ago, volunteers built the Police Station.
Over time volunteers stepped up to renovate it. Now, Selectmen Robert Ericson has been working toward doing that again, especially in the face of the officer's union issuing multiple formal complaints about the building.
The town's police officers want an improved working environment.
The police officer's union, Lanesborough Police Officers Association MassCop, Local 390, wrote to the Board of Selectmen saying the station is "unsafe and unprofessional."
State Sen. Adam Hinds is asking the state to help in designing a new city police station.
A capital bond bill is currently making its way through the Legislative process and Hinds has filed an amendment for $4 million to design the new station. The city has been eying a police station for years- including hiring a consultant to perform a feasibility study was conducted to identify possible locations and craft a conceptual outline of what the building would require.
Voters OK’d the $300,000 acquisition of .42 acres on Simonds Road (U.S. Route 7), including the building that used to be the Turner House for veterans.
When the non-profit Turner House announced its plan to suspend operations, the town in October 2016 the site as a potential site to replace the crowded and inadequate home for the Williamstown Police Department at Town Hall.
The Finance Committee voted unanimously to support the plan of local school officials to expand the Mount Greylock Regional School District and the proposed purchase of a Simonds Road property for a new police station — questions likely to be posed to the town at a special town meeting on Nov. 14.