Greenfield officials, firefighters laud progress on new fire station

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 03-16-2023 5:01 PM

GREENFIELD — The new fire station on Main Street continued to take shape on Thursday, as contractors erected one of the final steel beams to a round of applause.

“It’s a real celebration for Greenfield,” said Fire Station Building Committee Co-Chair Butch Hawkins, noting it’s been 90 years since a fire station was built in the city. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us.”

Speaking to a crowd of firefighters, city officials and construction workers during a brief ceremony on the grounds of the new station on Thursday, Fire Chief Robert Strahan compared the strength of the steel beams to the strength of the firefighters.

“Just like the steel of this building, the Fire Department is the … strength of the community,” Strahan said.

Over the last few days, one white steel beam, which will be visible from the interior of the station and used as part of a hose drying rack, was signed by members of the building committee and city officials, according to Strahan.

“It’s incredible,” he said, speaking to the progress thus far on the new station.

The $21.7 million cost of the project includes $2 million for the temporary station on Hope Street, which firefighters moved into in September 2021. In September 2022, the Fire Station Building Committee’s decision to award the $14.47 million contract for the new building’s construction to D.A. Sullivan & Sons resulted in a budget shortfall for the project of $2.75 million. Previously, $18 million had been budgeted.

To compensate for the $2.75 million shortfall, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner requested that City Council appropriate $1.75 million — a sum composed of bond premium and capital stabilization — and $500,000 in borrowing. The city also is contributing another $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, bringing the contribution in ARPA funds for the fire station to $2 million. Lastly, City Council accepted a $978,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that goes toward the fire station’s construction.

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“City Council has been enormous in their support,” Strahan said. Precinct 7 Councilor Jasper Lapienski and At-Large Councilor Phil Elmer were among attendees at Thursday’s ceremony.

Architect Katrina Pacheco of Pacheco Ross Architects said “great weather” helped get the project off the ground.

“We’re still hoping for some tightening of the schedule,” she said in an interview. “If weather is conducive to it, they can move quicker.”

Construction is expected to be completed by late 2023 or early 2024.

Pacheco commended the “great team” of contractors and residents in the community who helped get the project to this ceremonial point.

“It’s absolutely exciting,” Pacheco said. “I’m excited for the people of Greenfield … and everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.

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