Leaders in Ashland say they're in desperate need of new fire and police stations, and they're looking for help to get the job done.
Ashland firefighters and police officers invited Boston 25 News to see the current conditions of their stations. Problems included cramped quarters, holes in the basement, damaged ceilings and suspected mold.
"I came out of my bedroom one morning, and this ceiling tile was on the floor and water was leaking everywhere," one firefighter said.
The fire station was built in 1928 for smaller trucks, and now is being used for much more 90 years later.
"There's a lot of safety concerns," Ashland Fire Chief Keith Robie said. "When you pull an apparatus out, you can see, it's inches when they come through the door."
In 2008, a Boston consulting group deemed the building to be "inadequate, obsolete and overcrowded."
Now, there's a similar concern at the police station next door.
The department is concern that what started as just wear and tear has now turned into a bigger problem, which in turn is impacting how they help the public.
"It just doesn't have the safety standards that are required today for best practices," Ashland Police Chief Craig Davis said.
The Ashland town manager told Boston 25 News that the town is calling for a new joint public safety building, which would cost $30 million.
The state would pay for most of it, but $3.5 million would have to be approved by voters in the fall in the form of a $25 tax increase on every property tax bill each year for the next 10 years.
If the increase doesn't pass, the buildings will stay the way they are.
"We're going to outgrow it, there's no question," Robie said.
Firefighters and police are trying to make their case to the public, holding an open house on August 11 to show just how concerning the problem is.
The town hopes to have the issue on the ballot later this fall.
Cox Media Group