Dear community members,
As your police chief, and a member of the Public Safety Building Committee, I’m writing to you today to ask for your support in the town’s endeavor to construct a new Merrimac Police Department facility.
Our current building is in dire need of replacement. It was constructed in the late 1800s/early 1900s and is unable to meet the demands of a 21st century police department. The building has multiple structural deficiencies, including a sinking foundation and cracks in the walls and floors that allow water to leak in during inclement weather. The facility also lacks privacy for employees and residents who come in, often to discuss or report something that is sensitive in nature. The dispatch area is undersized and cannot adequately service our community and the jail cells fail Department of Public Health inspections every year, resulting in continual maintenance (with current repairs estimated at $12,00). Due to limited space, areas like the records room, locker room, storage space and armory are confined to the garage, while an interview room simply does not exist.
We have previously asked for your support to rebuild a new facility in a proposal submitted during town election in 2017. While that article did not pass, we took it as an opportunity to learn more about the needs of the community. A recent town-wide survey indicated that 79 percent of residents recognized a need for a new Merrimac police station.
With feedback from our constituents, the Public Safety Building Committee reworked its proposal, cutting the cost of the project by more than 50 percent without compromising the integrity of the work. Through collaboration with the Board of Selectmen and residents, the project we are proposing today reflects a design that is perfect for this community now, and for many years into the future.
We are advocating for a new 8,375 square foot facility that will be housed on a nine-acre parcel of donated land on West Main Street.
With community support, the town of Merrimac plans to borrow $6.5 million to complete the project, which will be paid back over a period of 25 years. This translates to residents contributing approximately $50 more in taxes for every $100,000 of a home’s assessed value. Based on the average assessed home value in Merrimac, this would result in an increase of about $200 annually.
We need to invest in our infrastructure to assure continued safety and security in our community. The members of the Merrimac Police Department are dedicated to providing quality service to this community, and they work hard for this town. We hope to be able to provide them with a safe, secure and professional working environment.
We would appreciate your support with this project and hope to see you at the public forum in September where we will outline plans for moving forward.
Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and the Public Safety Building Committee