Committee still considering safety complex

LYNDEBOROUGH – The Safety Complex or Other Option Committee was given two years to come up with a recommendation about a safety facility for the town. Now halfway through that period, the committee members are not yet ready to do so and may take another year or two. The committee was to look at the police and highway departments for a long-term solution to their inadequate, crowded conditions

"We’re not ready to make a recommendation," said former Selectman Scott Roper, a committee member who met with the board last week to talk about the committee’s progress. "We need to talk to the Police Department about a possible merger with another department," he said. That topic has come up several times, and has been resisted by townspeople. Lyndeborough police have made arrangements with the Wilton Police Department because Lyndeborough doesn’t have a holding cell or secure storage for evidence. The Lyndeborough station consists of one room at the rear of Citizens’ Hall. The Fire Department’s situation is more complicated, and there are three issues.

First, a new fire truck won’t fit into the current station, Roper said, "and we don’t want to continue buying custom-built trucks."

Second is the condition of the current building. "They’ve done a great job with what they have," Roper said, but there are some safety issues in addition to the space.

Third is the location. "There is a lot of the town that doesn’t fall within the 5-mile limit for insurance coverage," Roper said. While Lyndeborough Center is the ideal spot for a new station or a substation, "We don’t want to ruin the Historic District," Roper said.

The committee looked at several pieces of townowned land and found none ideal. Speaking for himself, and not as an opinion of the committee, Roper said, "I’d suggest looking at the purchase of a piece of property. We could discuss setting up a capital reserve fund for that. "It will be eight to 10 years before we have to deal with this."

That estimate was based on the expected life of a fire truck and the next need to buy one, as well as the process of buying or selecting land, designing the complex and the bid process. While the Center is the ideal place, he said, "We need a place where the station could be expanded in the future." Selectman Fred Douglas agreed: "The Center is the best place strategically for a substation." He noted the apple orchard, the only private land within the Historic District.

"It could be made aesthetically compatible," Douglas said. The town owns a large field behind Town Hall that is outside the district, but using it would be "awkward," Douglas said. Selectman Lee Mayhew suggested they meet again in December "and have a report in three years." Roper agreed that was possible.

"By the time we get to this," Mayhew said, "the Mountain Road bond will be paid down." In other business, the selectmen reappointed members to the Heritage Commission, Conservation Commission and Planning Board – people whose terms had expired. For the first time, the selectmen interviewed all of the members for input on what the various commissions have accomplished, what they wanted to do, their expectations and problems.

The Planning Board is considering an update of the town’s Master Plan, a process that takes about a year.