News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 19, 2019
Ongoing study looks at future of fire department

by Monique Labbe

A feasibility study concerning the future of the Castine Fire and Rescue Department is ongoing although an assessment to the current process is also under way, according to Castine Town Manager Shawn Blodgett during a meeting of the Castine Board of Selectmen on September 16.

Blodgett reported that he is in conversations with Port City Architecture out of Portland to “re-scope” the fire department assessment to “try to come up with a lower price because their price was greater than we budgeted.”

Once those discussions are complete, the ad hoc committee tasked with the work on the feasibility study will be reformed and the research will continue, said Blodgett.

The town raised $15,000 at May’s town meeting for the feasibility study. That study will look at the sustainability of the fire department in its current location on Court Street, its response time to fires and emergencies both on and off neck, the need for the current four trucks, and whether it would be prudent to move the facility to a different spot entirely.

“We’re doing this because we have four trucks with three bays [at the firehouse], so do we have appropriate equipment for the threat that’s out there? That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said board of selectmen chairman Peter Vogell, who is also on the fire department.

“The thought would be to gather as much data as we can to make a decision as to what the future looks like five, 10, 20 years down the road,” added Blodgett.

Also discussed at the meeting was the continued issue of parking, which was brought up during a board of selectmen meeting two weeks prior.

“I just wanted to let everyone know that we have not forgotten about the parking issues discussed last time,” said selectman Gordon MacArthur. “We simply just have not been able to get together to discuss it, which we can’t do outside of a meeting anyway.”

The issue was included as a topic of discussion for the next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1.