BRATTLEBORO—The Selectboard has unanimously approved an option agreement that will take property, now occupied by the Brattleboro Reformer, off the real estate market while the town explores moving the police station there.
The town is not purchasing the property outright at this time. Purchasing the property at 62 Black Mountain Rd. and moving the police station there will still require approval by both the Selectboard and Representative Town Meeting.
This option agreement only keeps the property out of reach from other buyers while the Selectboard and Town Meeting members decide what action to take.
In the meantime, moving the police station from the Municipal Center is one option for the Police-Fire Facilities Project, Selectboard Chair David Gartenstein said at the Nov. 17 board meeting.
Other options include keeping the station at the Municipal Center. One end of the rehabilitation spectrum includes conducting basic repairs to conform to current fire and other safety standards, while the other end calls for in-depth retrofitting.
According to Gartenstein, the agreement will set the price of the building at $720,000. Also included are three time extensions. The first, $20,000, guarantees the town’s right of first refusal until the end of March. The next two extensions of $10,000 each stretches the decision time to June and September.
The property includes 4.12 acres of land and is assessed at $1.7 million, according to the town’s 2014 Grand List. It is owned by a subsidiary corporation of MediaNews Group of Denver.
The company, which has owned the Brattleboro Reformer since 1995, now operates under the business name Digital First Media. The property was purchased for that year for $1.2 million.
Conversations in the process
Some community members have balked at the price tag of rehabilitating the town’s three emergency services stations. Other community members have felt the project is too long overdue and the buildings have fallen into disrepair.
The extensions are a reflection of the ongoing conversations the board and Representative Town Meeting Members will have about the project in the upcoming months, said Town Manager Peter Elwell.
If the town decides against moving the police station, then it will be out-of-pocket a maximum of $40,000 if discussions go through the third extension in September.
Half of the option payments will go towards the purchase price if the town decides to buy 62 Black Mountain Rd., Elwell said.
The board will outline alternatives for the Police-Fire project in three public meetings.
The first was held Nov. 21 at Green Street School. The next meeting will be on Monday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m., at the Academy School gym and the final public meeting will be on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m., at the Brattleboro Area Middle School’s multi-purpose room.
The public will have time to comment and ask questions at the meetings