By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Hundreds of residents came out on the evening of Nov. 10 to celebrate the grand opening of two municipal buildings – the new Fire Station and the renovated Town Hall.
Ceremonies were held at each building to acknowledge what officials all agreed were two beautiful and functional buildings that will serve the town’s residents for generations to come.
The first celebration was at the Fire Station, located at 42 Milk St. After years of debate and changed proposals, the town’s voters approved $11.2 million for the new building at the October 2012 Town Meeting. Construction of the 14,000-square-foot facility, which is nearly double the size of the former station, began in September 2013. The department moved into the new building last fall but held off on the grand opening until the old building was completely demolished and a new parking lot was put in.
In speaking to the audience, Municipal Building Committee Chair Robert Brown said “many difficult decisions were made, but never done in a contentious way,” as the town grappled with how to replace the original station which was built in the late 1880s.
“This [building] only exists now because you ponied up the money,” he said to the audience. “And we are very grateful.”
Fire Chief Patrick Purcell, who recently was appointed to that post, thanked the municipal officials, contractors, vendors and residents for their cooperation on the project.
“We estimate that by the end of this year we will have responded to 3,500 emergency calls. We want the public to know that we appreciate the work that went into this [new facility]. It will allow us to do the services that we need to do to assist you,” he said.
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, State Rep. Hannah Kane, R-Shrewsbury and State Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, also addressed the crowd, adding their congratulations.
Approximately 45 minutes later officials and residents moved one street over to celebrate the re-opening of Town Hall, located at 34 W. Main St.
Westborough’s voters approved $7.3 million at the March 2013 Annual Town Meeting to renovate the building which was built in 1928. The improvements to the building included renovating the second and third floors to make them handicapped accessible, restoring the clock tower, installing an elevator, replacing the windows and heating components and removing mold and asbestos.
The building’s charm and character was retained as much as possible, Town Manager Jim Malloy said, while updating it to serve the needs of 21st-century town business.
Ed Turner of Art & Frame Emporium, with the help of Westborough Public Library Director Maureen Ambrosino, renovated old frames that had been stored in the old Fire Station attic and placed old photographs in them. Those photographs are now on display throughout the building.
At both ceremonies young girls from the Westborough Softball League presented the town officials with a plaque. Bill Clausen, the league’s president, said it was a way for the girls to pay tribute and to thank the men and women who work in the town on their behalf.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined the officials for the ribbon cutting. She praised the work of the officials as well as the support of the taxpayers.
“You should be proud that you have invested in your legacy and for future generations,” she said. “I stand with every one of you in being very, very proud.”