BRIDGEWATER — Town Manager Michael Dutton and the Fire Station Building Committee would like to share with community members the process and considerations that contributed to the identification of a preferred site for the proposed Bridgewater Fire Headquarters.
The current Bridgewater Fire Headquarters, located at 22 School St., serves the Central Business District and Westside (Scotland region). A site assessment conducted in April 2021 noted that the current headquarters facility and site does not meet the space needs of the department and is no longer a consideration for continued use as a municipal fire location.
The Bridgewater Fire Department Station 2 (Prattown region), located at 774 Plymouth St., provides services to the east side of the community. However, no fire station has ever been located on the west side of Bridgewater, and new housing and commercial developments and expansion on that side of the town have led to the need to evaluate opportunities to house fire apparatus in that area of town.
In spring of 2021, Jacunski Humes Architects, LLC reviewed three sites identified by the Town of Bridgewater that have the potential to accommodate the space and site needs of the Bridgewater Fire Department. The three sites were: 106 Hale St., 0 Crescent St. and 1185 Pleasant St. Each were evaluated to determine their suitability to serve as a Central Business District location, Westside (Scotland region) location, headquarters location or substation location.
Each site was evaluated in relation to points such as the cost to acquire the property; lot size in relation to site needs; parking; site construction and development costs; location, accessibility and traffic; utilities; neighborhood impact; zoning restrictions; wetlands; and more.
Land at 1185 Pleasant St. was ultimately chosen as the preferred location for a new fire station.
106 Hale St.
This site is not owned by the Town of Bridgewater and further consideration would have been needed to consider possible co-occupation with Bridgewater State University. Additionally, the width of Hale Street and depth of the site would not provide the needed space for vehicle bays, nor appropriate space for an apron and turning radius for emergency vehicles entering the roadway. Future expansion on the site would not be possible due to the commuter rail train tracks and nearby roadways. The nearby commuter rail would likely also create traffic challenges.
0 Crescent St.
This land is currently used by the Town for recreation purposes, including playground space and ballfields. Though placing fire apparatus in this area of town would be beneficial, Crescent Street connects to Pleasant Street (Route 104) and South Street, both of which are primary routes within Bridgewater and could affect emergency response times due to traffic signalization. Undeveloped land in the area also contains wetland soils and small bodies of water that would not be suitable for development. Constructing a fire facility on this property would likely impact the residential character of the neighborhood, as well as the recreational space and fields already in place.
1185 Pleasant St.
This land was chosen as it will meet the space and site needs for a new fire headquarters, and poses few concerns. Most residences in the area are set a distance from the roadway and buffered by vegetation, helping to mitigate disturbances to the neighborhood.
The property is located on the west side of town approximately 2.7 miles from the existing fire headquarters. It provides better, more accessible fire and EMS coverage for the western area of Bridgewater, and provides convenient access for emergency response on Route 24 and I-495. Pleasant Street additionally offers the needed space and access to the property for emergency vehicles leaving and entering.
The site is currently undeveloped woodlands and is just over nine acres, with over three acres of buildable upland. Once the site was identified as the preferred location, the town commissioned a wetland delineation report to confirm the site’s buildability. As part of the proposed project, the town is planning to construct a trail through portions of the property that will not be built on which can be used for passive recreational and educational opportunities.
About the Project:
The Bridgewater Fire Headquarters, located at 22 School St., has stood since the late 1850s. Today, the fire station serves as headquarters and accommodates over 50 personnel. However, the existing station has outlived its useful life and does not allow for growth in both fire personnel and apparatus.
In 2019, an ad hoc committee was convened to review the existing station, determine the needs of a modern department, find a potential new station location, and determine how the town can best address the existing station’s deficiencies.
Voters will be asked to approve a $23 million debt exclusion to fund fire facilities projects at the 2022 Annual Town Election on Saturday, April 23. Approximately $2 million of this funding would go toward mechanical and other necessary upgrades at Station 2 (Prattown), which was built in 2000.
For More Information
Subscribe to Project Updates: An official project news blog website at bridgewaterfirestation.com has project information, documents, photos, project news and more. Community members are urged to subscribe to the news blog to receive email alerts when new updates are posted.
More information on the project can also be found on the town’s New Fire Headquarters website.