Peterborough voters approve funds for fire and rescue station

Voters listen as Peterborough Town Moderator L. Phillips Runyon welcomes residents to Town Meeting. 

Voters listen as Peterborough Town Moderator L. Phillips Runyon welcomes residents to Town Meeting.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Voters file through through the registration table at the start of Peterborough Town Meeting. 

Voters file through through the registration table at the start of Peterborough Town Meeting.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Peterborough Town Meeting 2024 passed the fire and rescue station bond article with a 90% vote in favor. 

Peterborough Town Meeting 2024 passed the fire and rescue station bond article with a 90% vote in favor.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-17-2024 7:32 AM

Modified: 05-20-2024 11:01 AM


Peterborough voters approved $11.7 million to fund the new fire and rescue station adjacent to the Peterborough Community Center, at the corner of Elm Street and Route 101, by a landslide at the open session of Town Meeting Wednesday night.

According to the Select Board, 90% of the 368 voters at Town Meeting approved the project, which will require raising $10.6 million through bonds.

“One of the things that was surprising was the overwhelming support we saw last night,” said Peterborough Fire Chief Ed Walker said Thursday. “Over 90% of the people voted in favor of the project, which shows that the Building Committee really did their job in vetting the project, and it shows that members of the community really do understand the project, and they understand what we need to serve this community.” 

Select Board member Bill Taylor said Thursday it was “a great day in Peterborough.”

"This is a huge win for Peterborough. We count on Peterborough Fire and Rescue to save us at our worst, and they not only deserve this new facility, they desperately need it,” Taylor said “The new station will attract more employees; it will show our current crew how much they are supported, and it will make us all safer and give us a building we can be extremely proud of. Our Building Committee and staff, and the team at Peterborough Fire and Rescue, worked this project exactly the right way. Our voters saw that, and over 90% voted to approve it. I am so honored to be a part of it, and I am absolutely thrilled to be moving forward."

Carl Mabbs-Zeno, a member of the Fire and Rescue Station Building Committee, said he was pleased the project would not have to be put before voters again in 2025. 

 “It was a relief to know we do not have to find a way next year to satisfy the voters with another revision in order to ensure our emergency services. I felt proud of our town that such a high percent of voters could accept the cost of ensuring a high standard of service,” Mabbs-Zeno said Thursday. 

In the presentation by the Fire Station Building Committee at Town Meeting, Assistant Town Administrator Seth MacLean, project manager for the fire and rescue station project, noted that building a new fire station for Peterborough had been in the works for 25 years. The Peterborough Fire Department has been housed in a converted 1940s era garage since 1972.

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Town Administrator Nicole MacStay, who presented the financial details of the project Wednesday, said Peterborough had not undertaken a major new public building project for decades. The recent major renovation of the Peterborough Town Library, while supported by a $3 million bond from the Town of Peterborough, was funded primarily by private donations, business sponsors and fundraising, spearheaded by the nonprofit 1833 Society.

Mandy Sliver, who served on the Fire and Ambulance Building Committee, said Wednesday night  that the priority of the committee was to “build a Fire Department that is right-sized for our community.”

“When we spoke to the Fire Department during this process, their primary concerns were response time and safety. Their concerns were not for their own comfort and convenience. The Fire and Rescue Department has a real pride and sense of community; they show up every day to do their job. Now it is time to do our job, and provide them with the equipment they need,” Sliver said.