Two historic buildings, one on each side of the fire house in Durham, are one step closer to being renovated to serve the town’s emergency services personnel after the Board of Selectmen met Aug. 11.
The town has come up with a conceptual schematic plan of how to create a public safety complex using these properties located at 31 and 57 Main St.
The town previously obtained a grant for $20,000 for state-reimbursed matching funds to help preserve the historic buildings. The town has owned the properties for 20 years and the buildings have been empty for 15 years.
“We are looking for assistance to renovate those houses so they comply with historic district regulations,” First Selectman Laura Francis said in a phone interview. The town has done studies on possible uses for the buildings. “We are closer now than ever before to understanding how we can use those two properties to meet our public safety needs,” Francis said.
A committee has been working on the project for five years.
According to Kurt Bober, foreman of public works and part of the town’s emergency management team, renovating the historic buildings could save the town money rather than renovating the firehouse. The town is in need of more space for ambulance and fire responders; for example, firefighters could use space to stay overnight to remain on call for emergencies.
“I’m happy to say that we will have choices,” Francis said at the meeting in regard to funding the project. Francis said discussions with the Board of Finance include the possibility of phasing the project, and the town has been saving money to be set aside for capital improvements.