By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, November 9, 2004
HAMPTON - The Hampton Beach Village District wants to make a deal with the town, which if accepted would negate the need for a new fire station at Hampton Beach for the time being.
Beach Precinct Commissioner Mike O'Neil asked Town Manager James Barrington on Monday if the town was interested in owning the land where the current fire station headquarters is located on Ashworth Avenue.
The current beach fire station, which was originally built in 1923, is owned by the Hampton Beach Village District.
In return for ownership of the fire station and the land around it, Barrington said the town would give the precinct the land where the current, soon to be former, police station lies and the remainder of the Ashworth parking lot. The beach precinct hopes to build a parking garage on that site.
Barrington said if selectmen accept the deal, it would give them the option of waiting to construct a new beach fire station.
Town officials were planning on submitting an article in March asking voters to build a new fire station as part of the town's agreement with the village district.
In 2002, selectmen and the Hampton Beach Village District reached an agreement in which the town would take over, from the beach village district, the responsibility of fire protection at the beach.
As part of the agreement, the precinct leases the Hampton Beach Fire Station to the town for a $1 a year with the lease expiring in 2005. The town also agreed it would vacate that property when the lease expires and construct a new fire station at the beach.
No matter what selectmen decide, Beach Precinct commissioners have already announced plans that they want to construct a five-story parking garage on whatever property they end up owning.
"The building needs to be replaced," said Barrington. "The building is on its last legs. It will just give us more time rather than putting it before the voters in the 2005 warrant."