Freedom Municipal Buildings Inadequate for Town’s Needs

[Editor’s Note: Freedom’s “Article 26 Committee” will continue its work on Thursday night, October 22, at 7 p.m. At the previous meeting, two of the eight options under consideration were eliminated, leaving six options. Ossipee Lake Alliance encourages all resident and non-resident Freedom taxpayers to attend the Article 26 meetings and be a part of the process].

Freedom — October 17, 2009 — The town office building, fire station and police department are no longer adequate and selectmen have appointed an “Article 26 Committee” to review options for the future of these buildings. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at Freedom Town Hall. Chairman John Shipman said the public is encouraged to attend.

“The public has been heavily involved: 25 to 45 people show up to every meeting. It’s a big item in a small town,” he said. “We need public communication
about the project.”

The police department is located in Town Hall, which has its own parking issues, and the fire department is much too small for the number of vehicles it has, Shipman said. In resolving these issues, somepeople have expressed concern over the fi nancing of the project, and others are concerned about the historical
value of the buildings.

The town has hired a consultant from Sheerr McCrystal Palson Architecture Inc., of New London, to help review the options, Shipman said. Along with Shipman, there are five people on the committee: Selectman Les Babb, Lee Fritz, Chuck Brooks and John Krebs.

“We’re just getting into the process,” Shipman said.

Some of the options that are being considered include building new town office, fire and police stations and using the existing, historic buildings for something else; expanding on the fire department’s land; and renovating the existing buildings so they meet state requirements, Shipman said. Another issue up for consideration is whether to keep the buildings on the same property in the center of town or rebuild them elsewhere.

“Part of our vision statement is to maintain the rural character of Freedom,” Shipman said.

The committee’s goal is to come up with eight options, then whittle them down to four, and finally down to one, which they will recommend to selectmen.

“Hopefully we’ll have a preferred alternative by December so we can put it on the warrant,” Shipman said.

Taxpayers will vote on the warrant article next year.

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