Satellite Public Safety Facility PURPOSE
The City of Saco is committed to ensuring that all community members have access to high-level, high-quality public safety services. The need for a fire station along the Route 1 North corridor was first identified in the 1999 Saco Comprehensive Plan and later restated in the 2018 Comprehensive Assessment of the Saco Fire Department by Municipal Resources Inc. Growth and density drive increased calls for service for Fire, EMS, and Police. It is important to incorporate all public safety services in one facility located closer to these fast-growing areas to able to effectively address the need.
A Satellite Public Safety Facility is intended to:
- Reduce distance traveled and response times for emergency responders. It is essential to maintain a high level of public safety through personnel who are trained and adequately equipped to quickly initiate emergency life-saving medical care, increase proactive police patrols, and initiate actions to minimize the damage caused by an uncontrolled fire.
- Maintain and improve the City of Saco’s Public Protection Classification as determined by the Insurance Services Office (ISO). ISO is an independent grading organization that evaluates and assigns a numeric fire suppression rating that impact fire insurance premiums.
- Strengthen the City of Saco’s commitment to Public Safety for all community members. Route 1 is a section of the community that has experienced significant growth and density over the past twenty years and is positioned for additional growth/density in part by the Opportunity Zone designation and proposed changes in the Zoning Ordinance.
Economic Development Activities
With the Mill Brook Business Park nearing completion (80% built out to date) and three business parks, both privately and publicly owned, in the planning process; we have already seen significant development in this area. We expect this development trend to continue. Recently, Ready Seafood has begun operation in their new facility, and Hancock Lumber’s Saco location is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2020. Along with this commercial development, there are several residential projects in the various planning phases projecting a significant increase in commercial, residential, and mixed-use growth. It is prudent for the City of Saco to plan for a Public Safety Facility now to be able to meet the current and future needs of this area and the entire community.
Proposed Satellite Public Safety Facility Project
The City of Saco issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select a Design-Build Contractor to prepare a 30% Design-Build Programming (pre-planning, design, and construction) of a Saco Satellite Public Safety Facility along the Route 1 North Corridor of the City. The city engaged with PC Construction to prepare the project plans.
Where and When
The site selection process incorporated considerations regarding proximity to the development activities near Flag Pond Road, Cascade Road, and Route 1, and access to a signalized intersection.
This project and the recommended bond question was discussed as a new agenda item at the March 9, 2020, City Council Meeting. You can view the presentation here and you can watch the meeting on YouTube here. The Public Hearing for this item has been postponed due to the COVID-19 virus.
How will this project be funded?
The RFP was paid for with ambulance revenue and the proposed project would require the use of several funding mechanisms: TIF funds, General Fund, and Bond Issuance.
$6,995,000 Bond Issuance – Site and building construction, utilities, permitting, and furnishings (turn-key)
$460,210 – Communications Tower & Purchase of Land
$215,000 – Vehicles & Equipment
Total Project Cost for Buildings & Equipment: $7,670,210
City staff recommend including this project as a bond question for the June 9, 2020 election. If recommended by the council and approved by the voters, we anticipate beginning construction in the spring of 2021 (this project has been tabled to allow the Fire Department to focus their attention on their COVID-19 response).