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Council Approves Purchase of Springvale Nurseries Property for Future Fire Station

At its meeting on February 1, 2022, the Sanford City Council voted 5-0 to approve the purchase of two properties, at 1274 and 1280 Main St. in South Sanford, for the purpose of building a new fire station. The purchase price of $585,000 is coming from federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, which were allocated by the Council at its January 18 meeting (see that story).

The two parcels, R12-20 and R12-21 on the tax map, are currently owned by T/T Associates LLC. The larger parcel is 2.8 acres, and before its current use by Springvale Nurseries, was home to the south branch of Sanford Institution for Savings. The smaller parcel is 1.3 acres, and was previously owned by Raymond Payeur. His home was demolished in 2018. The two parcels have a total frontage of 372 feet on Main St.

The properties approved for purchase are outlined in red above.

The combined property abuts Mikini and The Maples on one side, with a residence and the Sanford Manor apartments on the other. It is directly across the street from where VIP Auto is building its new service center, at the location of the former Bonanza restaurant.

The acquisition of the property will begin the process of relocating and upgrading our Fire Department facilities to meet federal mandates, which the current stations do not. A second location in the Springvale end of town will be required to provide adequate response times city-wide, while providing safe and code-compliant facilities.

Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy said the Fire Station Feasibility Committee looked at a lot of land using a formula which showed where stations should be located to have the best response times possible. She called the purchase “a smart move” and “an investment in public safety.”

Councilor Becky Brink echoed Ms. Herlihy’s comments, adding “the City is in a great spot to have these funds available” to purchase the property without any cost to taxpayers. “We can keep it for the future if we don’t build now,” she said. Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio reiterated that purchasing the land does not commit the City to building the station. “It will still be a community process that will include a vote and bonding and will involve the whole community,” she said.

Assistant Fire Chief Bob Arnold told the Sanford Springvale News “We’re very excited to take this next step toward getting a new fire station for the people of Sanford. This is a fantastic location to serve both south and central portions of the City.” The property has a significant grade change from the portion along Main St., where the Springvale Nurseries store is located, to the back of the property where the greenhouses are. AC Arnold said he expected there would be grading work done on the property to even it out before the new station can be built. He said there is no timeline yet for when the request for funds to design and build the station will come before the Council or before voters. Mayor Mastraccio said she hoped to have the new station built within a few years.

We also asked AC Arnold about a fire station floor plan that was posted on the City and Fire Department’s Facebook pages last week. There was some confusion among residents about whether that was the actual plan for the new station, or just an example of a generic plan. He said the Department did not want to waste the taxpayer’s money by having plans drawn up before the property was secured, but said the plan was provided by the architect as an approximation of what the new station would look like.

The plan (below) shows the station divided into three separate zones. The hot (red) zone is where contaminated equipment and clothing first enters the building. After cleaning and decontaminating, it is stored in the warm (yellow) zone, ready for the next call. The cold (green) zone is the firefighters’ living and training area. Separating the station into zones reduces the firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing chemicals that they come into contact with during firefighting operations. The current fire stations do not have space for that separation, putting our firefighters at risk of adverse health effects.

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