The Building, Planning and Construction Committee pitched the former St. Mary's parking lot, which the town now owns, as the future home of the .
The lot, about 2 acres in size, includes a wooden area east of the pavement.
“We need to make it something that is affordable and reasonable for the town,” said Carmen Dello Iacono, a selectman and member of the BPCC.
Dedham Police Chief Michael d'Entremont knew to find a location for a new station, he'd have to move the force out of Dedham Square, but he's pleased with the proposed site, just a few blocks away from the Square.
"It’s a little bit outside of the Square, but along a bus route," he said. “I think it is a great location for us. We don’t necessarily need to be in the middle of town.”
Based on past studies, a new building that properly houses the force's 60 officers would cost up to of space, d'Entremont estimated. The Dedham Square station is about 8,000 square feet. The proposed site would have enough space for that building, and ample off-street parking for police visitors, cruisers, and officers' personal cars - all issues the force currently battles.
The move would bring the department closer to three of the town's schools, and O'Neil Drive, a senior living community.
"I think that is all beneficial," said d’Entremont.
Town officials and d'Entremont plan to hold a neighborhood - and resident - meeting in late April on the plans for the site and to receive feedback. The meeting is tentatively planned for April 25, according to Dello Iacono.
“[The station] could probably be configured to mitigate any issues with any neighbors,” said d’Entremont, specifically referring to new homes built adjacent to the future site on the other half of the former parking lot.
Dello Iacono said he believes the plan will come together in time to go in front of the 2013 Annual Town Meeting, but said the whether general voters will have a say is still up in the air. The BPCC plans to utilize the meals and hotel tax to help fund the project.
“The outcry from people about the Square project being voted solely at Town Meeting within the budget, I hear, I listen. I don’t know if it’ll be a Town Meeting vote or a ballot vote,” Dello Iacono said.
With a site selected for a new police station, it likely takes a proposed all-encompassing municipal building off the table, bringing attention to the under-sized .
Dello Iacono said he’d like the town knock down the town-owned building at 434 Washington St., and add two bays on the left side of the fire station large enough to handle the new standard-sized fire trucks, which are too big for the existing bays at the station.
“We have to react, we have to move,” Dello Iacono said. “We know how fast five years can go.”