The City of Belfast was awarded 1.5 million in Congressional Designated Spending in the FY2023 Omnibus Spending Bill. This federal funding will be a key part of the capital necessary for the construction of a combined Public Safety Building.
Last spring, the Belfast City Council authorized the submission of four Congressionally Directed Spending requests by Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge. One of the four requests was awarded in the FY2023 Omnibus funding bill was a new or renovated expanded City of Belfast Public Safety Building.
The City’s request was to construct a modern, efficient Public Safety Building that will allow for the City to unify its Fire, Ambulance, and Police Departments under a single roof, yielding a variety of benefits to the community and the region. These benefits include increased interoperability, reduced energy costs, and increased ability to attract and retain public safety employees.
“The goal of this project is a chance to design and house our emergency units together in a facility that is designed for modernized emergency services. Our region and the services we provide is growing and this facility is an important step in meeting the need in our modern world,” explains Mayor Eric Sanders.
The City of Belfast has a long history of utilizing both state and federal funding to invest in infrastructure improvements. In 2022, the City of Belfast was awarded Congressionally Directed Spending to fund a majority of the Wight Street Reconstruction Project, including a new roadway, stormwater drainage, speed tables, and a multimodal pedestrian walkway and crosswalks to better accommodate an increased number of neighborhood residents in two newly constructed senior affordable housing complexes. Construction on that road project will begin in the summer of 2023
“We will be looking to additional federal and state funding options for emergency services,” explains City Manager Erin Herbig. “Our goal is that this infrastructure investment will place as little burden on the Belfast taxpayer as possible while at the same time making important investments in our emergency responders and the delivery of service to our residents.”
The City has identified the property that is currently home to the Fire and Ambulance Station as a potential location. As initial first steps, the City of Belfast hired Gartley and Dorsky to survey the property in the fall of 2022.
No specific construction timeline exists currently nor do any additional plans concerning the current police station. At the January 3 City Council Meeting, City staff will seek authorization to hire an engineering firm to establish preliminary cost estimates.