NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Northbridge voters will not be asked to fund construction of a Department of Public Works (DPW) facility at the Fall Annual Town Meeting in October.
Instead, they might be asked to authorize purchase of an existing building if studies, yet to be conducted, show an existing building could be cost-effectively modified as a DPW facility.
Those decisions were made by the Building, Planning and Construction Committee (BPCC) at a meeting last night during which Selectman Thomas Melia said he sees no support in the community for a proposal to redevelop the DPW on Fletcher Street.
A feasibility study conducted by HKT Architects and funded with $78,000 approved by voters last October, confirmed the DPW could stay on Fletcher Street despite its location on the banks of the Mumford River.
But the price tag for the proposed 19,000-square-foot facility is $8 million. “As soon as they came out with that figure I knew you were dead in the water,’’ Melia said.
Two weeks ago, the BPCC learned that a warehouse at 371 Douglas Road, considered a potential DPW site a year ago, was for sale and at a reduced price.
DPW Director James Shuris said he looked at that building with Building Inspector James Sheehan and it’s a site that could work, though the building would have to be modified. “I feel confident we could make it work,’’ Shuris said.
“We’re looking at this building or another existing building that might not be 100 percent what we need, but let us do our job in a safe manner,’’ he said.
Another building being considered is a group of garages in Linwood behind the car wash on Linwood Avenue. Town Manager Theodore Kozak said the property owner said he’d be willing to sell the property to the town.
The cost of modifying the buildings is unknown, however, and Shuris and BPCC member Paul Bedigian were asked to come back to the committee with numbers.
If costs aren’t known by Town Meeting, Kozak said the article authorizing the purchase of property could be passed over.