Bids received for Blandford municipal public safety complex

BLANDFORD – The Town of Blandford recently posted an invitation to bid for a feasibility study and preliminary design plan for a Municipal Public Safety Complex for the town. According to Blandford Selectman Adam Dolby, fifteen companies picked up packets for the bid, which closed on March 25.
Dolby said there is a real need for the complex.
“The town garage has been basically condemned,” he said. There are crumbling support pillars which affect all areas of the garage. The drainage was never done right – when it rains, water goes into the garage. The fire station is too small. They have to order smaller fire trucks, which are not great quality. The newest truck is 20 years old.”
Dolby also said the police department, which is located in the old elementary school, has no garage, and police cars are parked outside in the parking lot.
Dolby said rather than building or repairing three garages for the town road crew, fire trucks and police cars, it makes more sense to have one larger garage complex.
“As a small town, we have to get pretty creative,” he said.
One of the ideas floated was to reach out to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to see if they were interested in helping to fund a feasibility study and to find a location.
“The town of Blandford could offer significant assistance to the DOT,” Dolby said. Right now, they usually get calls to support accidents on the Pike, but do not have the equipment needed, including fire trucks that can achieve turnpike speed. He said Westfield ends up responding to calls as far away as Lee, when Blandford could cover that stretch.
The DOT did find it appealing to have better emergency response for the turnpike and agreed to fund the study as a Chapter 90 project. Dolby said the town worked with the DOT ahead of time to approve the project and develop the RFP, which ensured that the requirements for the RFP met their criteria. He said that State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox) was also very supportive of the project.
“This is great news,” said Pignatelli. “I toured the town garage and the building is in deplorable shape. The town deserves a quality facility, one that offers state-of-the-art services to the taxpayers of Blandford and I applaud the town for looking to the future.”
Looking ahead, Dolby, who is himself a town firefighter said, “My preference from an emergency response standpoint is to put the facility close to the turnpike so we can offer better support. We could have the facility that houses the trucks, plus an emergency sub-station in town. We could have an emergency landing spot for a helicopter.”
He said his first chance to review the bids will be at the next meeting of the selectboard Monday night.

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