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April 02. 2013 8:54PM

Milford preparing for new ambulance facility

MILFORD - Though the plan to start building a new ambulance facility in town was put on hold last fall, site work has begun at the lot on Elm Street and ground is expected to be broken later this month.

On Friday, tree clearing began at the lot, which sits near Robbins Auto Parts and the SHARE food pantry and outreach center on Elm Street.

Once the site work is complete, said Ambulance Service Director Eric Schelberg, construction will begin.

Schelberg said a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled at the site on April 27 at 9 a.m.

From start to finish, the building is expected to take seven months to complete, and the members of the volunteer ambulance service are excited about moving into their new home, said Schelberg.

It's been a long road to get to this point for the town. Initial discussions about finding new space for the ambulance service began in 2008.

Currently, the service operates out of the basement of Milford Town Hall in cramped quarters. There's very little space for the ambulances and getting in and out of the facility takes serious parking skills.

In addition, there isn't room in the current facility for training, storage is tight, and the ambulances have to be cleaned on the side of the road even in winter.

The town's initial plan was to purchase two properties next to the fire station and add on, creating a joint complex for both the ambulance service and the fire department.

Voters nixed that proposal several years in a row. Because the ambulances themselves were aging quickly, but newer ambulances are too big to fit in the space under town hall, the joint facility plan was tossed out and plans to build a separate $2.2 million ambulance building went before the voters last March.

Voters approved the plan, but delays occurred when the first site, a lot on Cottage Street that had initially been chosen, turned out to have potential contamination issues.

The Elm Street lot was ultimately settled on and the hope was to begin construction in the fall. Further delays put the start of the project too close to winter, so it was decided to hold off until spring.

Schelberg said the building should be completed in late November, just in time for the arrival of two new ambulances.

The purchase of the ambulances was approved by voters at town meeting in March.

nfoster@newstote.com


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