Chilmark spends $900,000 to secure land for ambulance barn

The Chilmark Fire Department might soon have room to expand. – Rich Saltzberg

Chilmark selectmen recently finalized a deal to buy land behind town hall. The purchase will help further the multiyear quest to replace the town’s fire station and ambulance barn. Town ownership of the lot, which currently belongs to Emmett Carroll, is contingent on voter support at the annual town meeting on April 22, according to selectman Bill Rossi. Rossi said he would like to situate a facility for Tri-Town Ambulance on the parcel. He said the agreed-upon purchase price for the real estate is $900,000.

“I feel that we have a plan in place that can be successful in realizing a new fire station and a new ambulance barn built for Tri-Town Ambulance,” Rossi said. He said he had come to the conclusion that trying to shoehorn both the ambulance barn and the fire station onto town hall property was not realistic.

He said the selectmen previously made an attempt to secure Beetlebung Farm, across the street from town hall, but the Fischers weren’t game to deal because they wanted to maintain the agrarian nature of the land. “We’re all happy it’s going to remain a farm,” Rossi said.

Rossi said there is anxiety in the Tri-Town ranks over where their headquarters will be. “I want to see something get done,” he said.

As to the ambulance barn being on the Carroll lot and therefore separate from the new fire station, Chilmark Fire Chief David Norton said, “That would work marvelously.”

He added that he believed the town should have purchased land years ago to solve fire station and ambulance barn issues.