A petition submitted last Sunday has stalled the Town Council's ordinance to purchase land for the construction of a new police station.
In an 8-1 vote, the council voted to adopt the "Ordinance Authorizing Acquisition of Land and Authorizing Issuance of Bonds and Notes in an Amount not to Exceed $1,175,000" on September 20, 2010. Town Manager Gary Brown reported to the Times Record that the council intended to use the funding strictly for that purpose.
The police station is currently located in the basement of Town Hall at 28 Federal Street.
In an interview with the Orient, Brown reported that the potential location for the new police station is on the "south east corner of Pleasant and Stanwood streets."
"It would include a couple of apartment buildings, the former Brunswick House of Pizza building and a vacant building," he said.
The petition to overturn the ordinance required over 800 signatures from Brunswick residents. Town Councilmember Ben Tucker reported that the council originally voted to approve the ordinance in a public hearing at which several residents spoke against it.
"Once a petition is filed," said Tucker, "the council has 30 days to hold a hearing."
"In terms of reaction, personally I'm disappointed that our ordinance is suspended because this delays progress on getting a new police station," Tucker continued. "At the same time I respect the rights of the citizens to petition."
Both Brown and Tucker said that the Town's efforts to build a new police station have been in the works for years.
"Most recently those discussions [have happened] within the last decade," said Tucker. "The town purchased the [old] Times Record building and there was talk at the time of making that into the station."
Brown reported that a new police station would increase the community's awareness of the Brunswick Police. "It would give them a visible presence in the community...right now their only visibility is the cruisers," he said.
The council will convene on Monday, October 18, to vote on a date for a public hearing on the petition; the hearing will determine whether the council submits the petition to a referendum vote or otherwise rescinds the ordinance. The projected date for the public hearing is Monday, November 8.