Motorists on Center Road may have noticed some construction taking place at the south side of the Woodbridge Police Department this week. The town is replacing the radio communications tower with a new monopole outside the Center Building. The monopole will be placed on a new concrete base and, just a few feet to the left of the old tower, a storage unit will be added.
The lattice structure of the old tower had reached the end of its useful life, said Police Chief Frank Cappiello in a phone conversation. The new tower, though similar in height, is a monopole, he said. It is used by the police, the fire department, emergency medical services and the Public Works Department. Once the town embarks on a future upgrade of the emergency radio system, the tower will still be compatible, Cappiello said.
In addition to a new concrete base the project will provide a 10×20 foot equipment storage building for components of the radio communication system that typically are stored outdoors, he said. Most such towers will have storage units close by. The new storage unit will allow the department to free up some storage space in its crowded facility.
The $350,000 project will be paid for by a $500,000 STEAP grant (Small Town Economic Assistance Program) that the state bond commission accorded the town some four years ago. The grant is available until July 2018, at which point it runs out.
Planning for a car port: In addition to the radio tower, the Police Department is hoping to move forward with its proposal to construct a carport and is planning to engage with an architect to prepare a project design. Currently department vehicles are parked on an open parking lot off of Center Road. In the winter time, the parked vehicles are exposed to the elements, with temperature-sensitive equipment inside. Visitor parking is on the westerly side of the building, near the visitor entrance.
The car port will be an architecturally designed, permanent structure, the chief said. Keeping the vehicles sheltered will increase vehicle accessibility and thereby reduce response times when minutes count. The car port should also diminish vehicle maintenance on the police cruisers.
Chief Cappiello said the remainder of the STEAP grant could be used for this proposed project. The building should tie in stylistically with the town center, and match the brick building of the Center Building. The department currently has 13 vehicles.
Located in the former Woodbridge Center School, the police department is planning for an all-out update of its facilities, based on a space-needs assessment that was completed a few years back. It’s been 30 years since the space was last updated, the chief said. “It’s time to upgrade.”
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent