Groton council sends two items to referendum

Groton — The Groton Town Council voted Tuesday night to send two measures forward to voters at referendum: one to modernize the Groton Town police station and a second to extend utilities up Flanders Road to the Interstate 95 interchange.

The measures are still a ways from being placed on the November ballot. Both bond ordinances must still be drafted, sent to public hearing, approved by the council and sent forward to the Representative Town Meeting.

The first measure would bond $5.34 million to upgrade the police station, including cells for prisoners, the area where prisoners are transferred from police cars to cells and the firing range. The bond would also pay for repairs to structural parts of the building.

The second measure would extend utilities up Flanders Road, from Fort Hill Road to I-95, at a cost of about $9.9 million, according to Town Manager Mark Oefinger.

The estimate of the Flanders Road project, which calls for additional work in the future to cross over I-95, is based on a study by the consultant Fuss & O’Neill.

Mayor Heather Bond Somers said the council should put forward only those measures it supports.

“We need to get behind it and we need to advocate for it,” she said of the ballot questions.

Councilors toured the police station in May 2012 and learned that the cameras that view cells from the hallway cannot see everything, and that the older part of the building has not been updated since it was built in 1977.

In addition, the station’s firing range has bays that are not all working.

The Flanders Road project has been viewed as a key to encouraging industrial development, particularly given recent downsizing by large companies.

— Deborah Straszheim

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