WESTPORT — More than 50 citizens turned out to hear Westport's latest plans and costs for construction of a Department of Public Works garage/fire station and renovation of Town Hall.
Since bonding referendums were defeated in June 2010 and July 2011, the town continues to review options while under mandate to repair or replace the structures.
Westport officials have been reviewing options that would provide required safety features, meet federal and state mandates, be economically feasible and win voter approval.
Two committees have been meeting: one for possible construction of a DPW and Fire Department structure on Route 22, north of the hamlet, and the other for the renovation of the Town Hall.
'VERY, VERY NEEDY'
“We’re hoping to have a conversation with you folks to find the best way to go forward," Andrea K. Murray of Vermont Integrated Architecture of Middlebury, Vt., said at the recent meeting.
"We have been working one and a half years with feasibility studies. We have looked at existing buildings and found them to be very, very needy.”
This sentiment was echoed by Westport Town Councilor Daniel McCormick, who said, “We want to gather information so that when it comes time to decide, you will be well informed.”
Westport DPW Superintendent Dennis Westover said his goal is a safe, clean working environment.
"I don’t think there are any bells and whistles in this proposed building," he said. "These are mandates by state law. I don’t want any misconceptions, like we had the last time.”
Representing the Westport Volunteer Fire Department, Jim Rule said they need to keep facilities up to date.
"The Fire Department needs a place to work safely and have a place for training. It’s (the proposed building) pretty much what we need. There’s nothing fancy," he said.