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State Police to relocate Brighton barracks; property eyed for new health center

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  July 25, 2012 05:28 PM

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The Massachusetts State Police plans to relocate its Brighton barracks, officials said.

“It would be more cost-efficient to find a new location than to rehabilitate the old one,” spokesman David Procopio said in an e-mail.

State Police plan to vacate the two-story barracks along Soldiers Field Road no later than June 1, 2013, he said. Officials prefer that a new site will be open before the existing barracks closes, but Procopio said a temporary site could be set up if necessary.

Officials plan to open a new barracks within the H-5 patrol district, which includes Brighton, Belmont, Brookline, Newton, Waltham and Watertown, he said.

Opening a new barracks could entail building an entirely new facility or renovating an existing building.

State Police are looking at both publicly and privately owned sites where a new barracks could open, Procopio said.

“We are presently evaluating the benefits of alternative locations for a new barracks,” Procopio said. “Obviously, there are certain necessities that we will look for in a site, to include accessibility and proximity to major state roads and thoroughfares that are primary parts of the patrol area.

“We could retrofit if the right building presented itself, bearing in mind that law enforcement facilities have certain special needs that sometimes make it more efficient to build from ground up,” he added. “But we have ruled nothing out and will determine the best location and smartest way of doing it.”

He said officials expect that the state Division of Capital Asset Management will issue a public notice soliciting lease property from private owners within the next few weeks. State officials will also review public sites in the patrol area, he said.

When asked if any other State Police barracks plan to vacate or relocate, Procopio said: "Not at this time."

The Joseph M. Community Health Center plans to use the Brighton barracks property to build a new, $19.4-million medical building that would be completed by spring 2015, leaders of that organization said.

The proposed health facility would also encompass an adjacent plot owned by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.

That property includes a salt shed, which will relocated to a yet-to-be identified site, according to department spokeswoman S.J. Port. The department has not used the rest of the space for years, she said.

Altogether, the medical organization would lease 2.2 acres of state-owned land bordered by Soldiers Field Road to the north and Western Ave to the south. The abutting property to the west houses the historic Charles River Speedway headquarters building, which the state is in the process of exploring ways to preserve and reuse.

Through legislation approved two years ago, the state has agreed to lease the property to the nonprofit health organization for a to-be-determined fair market rate for 50 years, with two 10-year lease extension options. The property is worth about $3.5 million, according to the city.

Construction of the new medical building would likely require further public approval.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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