GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

January 2, 2013

Essex police offer residents an inside look

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — ESSEX — Those wishing to see the inner workings of the new addition to the Essex Police Department will have a chance to do so during an open house next week.

On Jan. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m., residents are being invited by the town’s police chief to come tour the new addition which, at about 720 square feet, sits in back of the town’s police and fire safety building.

While the addition was sorely need, it is not a fix all for the police station building, which also doubles as the town’s fire station, said Chief Peter Silva.

”Previously, we were practically working out of one room,” he said.

Silva said the addition adds office space to the police station, while an interview room is now located upstairs, in Silva’s old office. The addition houses an office for administrative assistant Mary Elinor Dagle and Sgt. Paul Francis.

Silva said the addition was costly, but not to Essex taxpayers. The new offices, as well as furniture, were donated to the town — the trailer itself by resident Daniel Mayer, owner of Mayer Tree Service, and the furniture donated anonymously. Some minimal department costs, Silva added, came up when computers and other hardware had to be set up.

“Myself and the department are extremely grateful for this modular addition,” Silva said. “This is not the cure all for our needs, but it gives us temporary relief for much needed space.”

This is not the first time town officials have had problems with the current building.

Last week, Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki confirmed there is asbestos in the building, but is still waiting on test results from Covino Environmental Associates Inc. of Woburn to see if the town needs to take on an asbestos removal project. Segments of the leaking roof were replaced earlier this month as well, at a cost to taxpayers of about $13,000, with that project approved at a special fall Town Meeting.

Lisa O’Donnell, who serves on the Board of Selectmen and chairs the Town Building Committee, told the Times earlier this month the building’s lack of space was a big issue.

Reinhardt and Associates, an Agawam-based consulting firm, is on record as suggesting the town develop a new safety building on John Wise Avenue, cited during a 2011 feasibility study.

Silva said the main reason for an the open house is to let the residents know how the trailer is being used, while also giving them a first-hand look at what working conditions are like inside the station and the addition.

Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen is weighing its options as to whether to add a new safety building to the 2014 budget discussion.

Silva added that, while he was certainly thankful for the new addition, such facilities do have a life span.

”This is not even close to what we need long-term,” he said.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.