Town Meeting members will consider earmarking money for a new fire station that could supplant the West Falmouth and North Falmouth stations.
The warrant article will ask for money to be set aside, should a suitable property be found to build a new station in the northwest of town. The dollar amount has not yet been determined, and the sum will be discussed and voted upon by the Falmouth Finance Committee prior to the November Town Meeting.
The select board in May directed the town manager and the fire chief to explore building a new station in the northwest, after a consultant’s report identified an area best positioned to service residents there with fire and rescue services.
“The McGrath Consulting Group, based on 36 months of call data, concluded neither the North Falmouth or West Falmouth fire stations are ideally located,” Falmouth Town Manager Julian M. Suso said. He added that the West Falmouth Station is antiquated and North Falmouth is “nearing the end of its useful life.”
Mr. Suso said a specific piece of property has not been identified yet.
“But in this volatile real estate market, we want to see if some dollars can be in place in case a parcel comes up, so we can put a hold on it. Properties are going within a matter of days right now,” he said.
He clarified that the article does not ask to purchase a parcel, but to place a hold on it. Town Meeting would need to vote the actual purchase.
Meanwhile, Town Meeting last April approved to build a new station near the George Gaspa Sports Complex on Sandwich Road, bringing the total number of fire stations to six.
The location would address the gaps in the town’s emergency response coverage serving the northeast section of town, according to a citizen’s advisory committee charged with determining a future site. It will serve Sandwich Road to the Mashpee border, Joint Base Cape Cod and toward the north. Approval of the final project will go to Town Meeting voters in April 2022 and will require a debt exclusion vote in May 2022.
The town has five stations now—in North Falmouth, West Falmouth, East Falmouth, Woods Hole and on Main Street. The advisory committee toured them and found the West Falmouth and North Falmouth stations were too old to be adapted to meet the fire department’s current needs adequately. It recommended the town consider a combined North and West Falmouth fire station between Thomas B. Landers Road and Winslow Road in North Falmouth.
The town continues to discuss whether to provide fire and rescue services from five or six stations.