New Fire Station Project

Why the need for a New Fire Station?  
The existing Nantucket Central Fire Station at 131 Pleasant Street was built in 1979 and began its use as Fire Headquarters in May of 1980. In 1980 this mid-island area was mainly residential with very little commercial development; however, over the past thirty years there has been a considerable increase of commercial development around the station. There are now restaurants with takeout food, two gas stations, banks and retail shops. Currently, there is construction of a larger capacity supermarket adjacent to the Central Fire Station and a larger Boys & Girls Club on Sparks. The Nantucket Elementary School was expanded in 1990 to service 538 students, but at this coming 2015 Annual Town Meeting the School Committee seeks approval to expand the school again to accommodate the over 700 elementary school students it now serves. This growth has contributed to an increase in vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Intersections in the area that were once free of congestion are now heavily burdened with traffic and gridlock mainly in the summer months, impeding emergency vehicles responding to calls.

The current Fire Station building was constructed to address the demand for service at 1980’s levels. The day the Fire Department moved into the new building, Fire Chief Bruce Watts stated that the building was already at full capacity. At that time, the department had less permanent personnel dealing with a much lower call volume. In 1979, when the fire station was under construction, the Annual Town Report stated that the Fire Department responded to 570 Emergency Calls. In the upcoming 2014 Annual Town Report data shows the Fire Department responded to 2,869 emergency calls with an additional 2,114 service and inspection calls. With the Island’s growth over the past 30 years, call volumes have increase considerably.
The Fire Department faces a similar situation today as it did in 1979. The Department is seeking to move from an undersized property with an inadequate building located in a densely built up area to a less congested area, just as it did almost forty years ago. As the needs of the island community grow, it is important to make sure any new facility is designed and built to sustain the Department’s necessary levels of staffing as well as provide for critical programs, such as Advanced Life Support for the ambulance service, improved wildland firefighting capability, improved fire protection for the out-of-hydrant districts that have no municipal water supply, and addressing adequate space needs for training. These programs involve the purchasing of new equipment and apparatus as well an increase in staffing in order to provide the services Nantucket requires.
Fire Chief Mark McDougal
Tax Rate Impact

The tax rate impact of the proposed Fire Station is projected at $5.64 per $100,000 of valuation for residential properties.  For example;

Average Residential Single Family Home = $1,684,585
Annual Tax Impact = $95

Average Residential Single Family Home (Year Round Residents only) = $1,092,299
Annual Tax Impact = $62