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Westport pitches for building

WESTPORT-Four municipal organizations came together to pitch their reasons for a new center in Westport during a June 27 informational meeting.

Officials from the Town of Westport, town Department of Public Works, the Westport Volunteer Fire Department and Westport Central School Board of Education talked about their ideas behind a proposed vote to authorize the town to bond for $7 million for a new municipal community center, which would be built at the site of the current town DPW shed.

Town supervisor Daniel Connell said that while the bond was for $7 million, that would not be an allowable price tag for the building.

"We have already resolved as a board that if the price comes in over $6 million, we will not move forward," Connell said. "As the elected officials of the town, we feel it's our responsibility to look at all the options and put forth what we think is the best long-term project for the town. Any way that you push the numbers, this is the least expensive option you can find. There's no way we would put a project out for $6 million if wee could do it for less."

The municipal center would house the Westport town hall, town courts, DPW, a fueling station for all municipalities in Westport, and garage space for the school district, along with other spaces for kitchen and meeting rooms.

Each organization involved on the committee that has looked into the municipal center talked about their reasoning behind the move.

"Our concern is that the firehouse could be closed by inspection and we would have to come up with a garage facility," Westport VFD treasurer Gordon Decker said. "Renovations are not realistic, and moving would severely harm our response times."

"I know that there is a lot of controversy about the town hall being part of this," Connell said. "In the end, it remains cheaper for the town hall to be part of this than to rebuild this facility."

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