Chilmark to unveil design concepts for public safety building

Equipment overflows inside the Chilmark Fire Station. — Rich Saltzberg

Chilmark selectman and building committee chairman Bill Rossi told his fellow board members Tuesday night the town is ready to unveil design concepts for a new public safety building and a new Tri-Town Ambulance building, and to seek feedback. Information forums on the buildings will be held at the Chilmark library on March 12, April 2, and April 16. Chilmark has struggled for years to replace a cramped and shopworn fire station on Menemsha Cross Road. The plan afoot would place a new station in approximately the same location as the current one, and a headquarters for Tri-Town Ambulance, the EMS company that serves Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury, on a recently purchased parcel of land next to town hall. 

One of the more serious problems with the current fire station is that much of the interior is clad in asbestos boards. Previous testing showed the air in the station wasn’t asbestos-contaminated, however the presence of the boards, some of which were fractured, remains a source of agita for both Tri-Town Ambulance employees and volunteer firefighters who work there. Rossi told The Times the town got a quote of $30,000 to remove the asbestos as part of the demolition process of the station. The figure, he said, was “not as bad as people might have thought.”

Chilmark voters have thus far approved $640,000 for architectural work, and to pay both a clerk of the works and an owner’s project manager. Those funds are on top of $900,000 used to buy land for the Tri-Town headquarters. 

On March 12 at 5:30 pm, in addition, members of the building committee, representatives from the town’s owner’s project manager, Daedalus Projects, and the town’s architect, Keenan + Kenny, will be present to answer questions, including on the projected price tag of the buildings. Rossi said while the need to replace the fire station is “obviously pressing,” his committee is nonetheless dedicated to coming up with “something that is going to be acceptable to the residents of Chilmark.”