Construction of the new Point of Pines Fire Station could get underway next spring and be ready to open by January of 2023, according to Fire Chief Christopher Bright.
Perceived delay in the construction of the station has been one of the major issues in the Ward 5 City Council race. Challenger and former City Council President Al Fiore has pointed to how long it has taken for the project to become a reality and has also stated that a new station for the neighborhood should have been on the table long before the council approved a $9.2 million bond for it in 2019.
On Monday night, current longtime Ward 5 Councillor John Powers used the power of the incumbency, asking Bright to appear before the council to give an update on the project. “As everyone has seen, that [existing] station was demoed back in September; that was a pretty big milestone for us,” said Bright. “I’m not going to lie. Like everyone else, the last year and a half has been very difficult, dealing with the worldwide pandemic and the difficulties that presented, but we’ve overcome that. Right now, we’re about to enter a really exciting phase of the project; we are, along with some of our state partners, beginning to wrap up some of our land acquisitions and permitting issues.”
The bidding process for construction is going to take place this winter, Bright said, with the beginning of construction next March or April. The construction schedule for the fire station is 10 months long. “A year from this January, that station should be built, according to the construction schedule,” said Bright.
The fire chief said the project is about more than replacing the current Point of Pines station, which has been out of commission for decades. “We’re bringing a modern, state-of-the-art, three-bay fire station there with a training room and a community room space component to it that is desperately needed down the Point of Pines for voting polling stations and for community groups and for our firefighters to train,” said Bright. “We’re excited. I know there’s been a lot of naysaying; I know there’s been a lot of misinformation thrown out around this project; but I’m here to dispel any of those rumors tonight.”
As to criticism that the Point of Pines station should have been built 10 to 15 years ago, Powers noted that at the time the city was in the midst of building five new schools and a new public safety facility. “You can’t just go out there and bond this and bond that – it costs money,” said Powers.
Powers thanked Bright and his staff for helping to get the new fire station built, noting that he had traveled with them to other communities to check out their new fire stations. “We wanted to make sure we were getting a facility that had all the nuts and bolts in it,” Powers said. “We didn’t want to get in there and say, ‘Well, why didn’t we do what Arlington did or what Boston did?’”
Powers also stated that Revere has been ahead of the curve when it comes to public safety facilities, noting that Boston recently opened its first new fire station in nearly three decades. “We’re way ahead of the game in regards to public safety and fire stations,” said Powers. “We built the one on the [Revere Beach] Parkway; we worked with the developer on Engine 3 up in North Revere; and now we’re going into our third station – modern, up to date. Public safety, to me, is probably the most important product we can give to the residents of this city.”