UPDATE: 7:24 p.m. Sept. 5 — Killington residents passed the vote to purchase the land for a public safety building, 102 yes; 84 no.
By Evan Johnson
KILLINGTON—On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 31, about 50 members of the Killington community attending an informational meeting in advance of a special vote Sept. 5 to purchase land for a new public safety building. Attendees heard the results of a three-year study into the town’s need for a new fire department, which will be the main feature of the public safety building, and its possible site on Killington Road.
Study committee member Steve Finneron laid out the stakes: the current fire department building – in place since 1974 – is not up to code and is deteriorating; rescue workers respond with their personal vehicles and equipment from their homes; and Killington Police Department lacks adequate space, which often necessitates long drives out of town on busy weekends if, for example, someone needs to be brought to a holding cell in Rutland.
The hope, Finneron said, is a one-stop-shop for all of Killington’s public safety needs.
“We’re looking for a place that can house all of these things,” he said.
The proposed new home for Killington’s fire, rescue and police departments is a four-acre lot just southeast of Woods Road, across from Peppino’s and the Mountain Sports Inn. Members of the review committee have said the site offers good access to the rest of Killington Road, quick response times to the surrounding area, and value.
The current site is the committee’s top pick after reviewing 13 sites in the Killington area. At Thursday’s informational meeting, the committee laid out the evaluations on its previous top five locations including: six acres next to Charity’s; six acres at the administration building at the old Rone property; 15.8 acres near Base Camp Outfitters; 2.3 acres across from Moon Ridge Condominiums on Route 4; and 9.3 acres across from the Goes property on old Route 4.
All of these parcels of land were eliminated due to a combination of cost, access, or amount of work needed to prepare the land for construction.
Still, the committee members needed to convince voters that they had selected the best possible location and negotiated the best possible price with land owner Steve Durkee. Search committee members and members of the Killington Select Board faced persistent questioning on the latter point.
“We have spent years trying to make this the most economic way possible,” Killington Fire Chief Gary Roth told the assembly. “We are grouping town resources and all the work that gets done is in one place.”
Voters cast ballots Tuesday, Sept. 5, on a 30-year, $634,000 bond, payable in annual installments of $30,000. Included in this original price tag is: purchase of the four-acre parcel near Woods Road for $525,000; $21,500 in civil engineering designs; and $87,500 in fees for schematic architectural design and construction estimate. (Durkee will also provide $20,000 worth of in-kind services to clear and grade the site and construct a roadway.)
Results of the vote were not available at press time. Visit mountaintimes.info for details.