More Bristol talks set for firehouse land buy

BRISTOL — Bristol may soon complete another step on the way to building a new home for its fire department.
Since the fall, members of the selectboard have been negotiating with the Bristol Recreation Club, a private organization, to purchase some of the club’s land on West Street as one part of a future building site for a new firehouse.
The parties will meet again Thursday evening for another negotiating session. The town has made an offer to the club, the details of which it is keeping confidential. The club can accept it, reject it or make a counter offer.
Selectman Peeker Heffernan, selectwoman Michelle Perlee and town administrator Therese Kirby will represent the town at Thursday’s meeting, while Betty Far, Ronald LaRose and Jen Oxford will represent the club.
Should a deal be reached, the town still has to negotiate a second agreement with homeowners Ed and Suzanne Shepard. The couple lives adjacent to the recreation club, and the proposed site for the firehouse straddles both properties.
Once the town has deals in hand for both properties, voters must approve a bond to purchase the land, and then a separate bond to fund the construction of the new firehouse. The selectboard has convened a committee of firefighters, town officials and community members to develop a design for the structure.
An earlier ad hoc committee chose the West Street site from an original list of 33 locations that was narrowed last summer to six finalists.
Firefighters are eager for a new home, as they say their present 19th-century facility cannot meet the demands of a 21st-century department. Issues include structural problems that prevent trucks from being stored inside and the second floor from being used as a meeting place, and a failing septic system that officials said needs to be replaced.

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