Fire station is first choice for new West Tisbury police station


The West Tisbury police station site and planning committee will recommend that the Public Safety Building complex on State Road be selected as the future location of a new police station.

The committee will present its recommendation at a community forum at 7 pm, Tuesday in the Howes House.

At a meeting on Nov. 23, the committee members unanimously agreed that the Public Safety Building/Fire Station (number two) complex is the preferred location. The backup site would be on the grounds of the Fire Station (number one) located on the West Tisbury-Edgartown Road a short distance from the current police station adjacent to Mill Pond.

Following the public forum the committee plans to submit a report to the board of selectmen in February. The committee members include Chairman Susan Wasserman, John Christensen, town emergency management director, Police Chief Dan Rossi, retired police chief Beth Toomey and Norman Perry, also chairman of the town Personnel Committee.

The committee began its work in July and followed a multi-step process to determine the police station’s future location and space needs. According to meeting minutes, the committee adopted a 20-year outlook and sought a site that would “be of sufficient size for growth and change, and with built-in-flexibility.”

The nine criteria that shaped the recommendation included: High visibility, convenient public access, and a location near neighborhood stores and major traffic intersections.

At the Nov. 23 meeting committee members reviewed a report from the land surveying and civil engineering firm of Schofield, Barbini and Hoehn, Inc., of Vineyard Haven, that was asked to analyze the suitability of the Public Safety Building.

Mrs. Wasserman summarized the letter. She said, “the site is large enough, and there is enough parking, we might not even have to dig a new well. The only issue is the septic system.” If a new building were to be more than 2,693 square feet a new septic system would be needed.

Mr. Christensen said, “Station number two is our top choice for a couple of reasons. There are people there more often so that security is for them. There are EMTs there, there are firemen there. Station number one is not populated as much as station number two. So it doesn’t have the security aspect. It’s closer, more visible, more people go that way.”

The design of the new station will be the charge of another committee. However, based on committee research it is estimated that a new station may require 2,821 square feet of office space to include locker rooms, showers, space for weapons storage, a sleep center, and fitness center.

Police Chief Dan Rossi said that there would be construction cost savings by building onto the Public Safety Building in ways that would allow the sharing of a meeting room and kitchen with the Fire Department and EMTs also housed there.

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