Council approves $440K in spending for immediate repairs to N.S. police station

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Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust Director of Underwriting Brad Weaver speaks before the council.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Town Council unanimously approved spending of up to $440,000 Monday night for immediate repairs to the North Smithfield police station at the urging of members of the Municipal Buildings Review Task Force.

The decision came despite hopes by some that the town could instead wait to see the results of a $18 million bond question regarding funding for a police facility, scheduled to go before voters this November.

“The reality is, in that particular building, there’s a lot of deferred maintenance,” said Brad Weaver, director of underwriting for the town’s insurer, Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust. “The trust is willing to maintain insurance as long as the town is moving forward with making the building safe.”

The effort to repair or replace the current station on Smithfield Road has been a source of debate for many years in North Smithfield, with projects that have stalled or changed direction with each election cycle. The town had once hoped to repair the 95-year-old former schoolhouse that serves as police headquarters with a portion of a $12 million bond passed by voters in 2014.

But in 2016, newly seated councilors dismissed the board spearheading the project, instead appointing the MBRTF to handle the bond-financed work, which also included renovation of the former Kendall Dean schoolhouse into what is now Town Hall.

And MBRTF members said the remaining funds were insufficient to cover the needed police station repairs.

Delays since have included a pause to allow the post-Covid construction market to settle and the seating, once again, of a new council that needed to be brought up to speed.

In May, councilors finally agreed to put a new $18 million bond issue before voters to fund construction or renovation at the station.

But the years of waiting have left the structure in a blighted state. In January of 2022, the trust informed the town that immediate repairs would be needed in order to maintain insurance coverage.

“If the build continues to deteriorate as it has been, then it will become uninsurable,” Weaver said at the council meeting on Monday, August 8.

Councilors questioned how much spending was needed and if the work could wait until after November.

“I hate to put a penny into that building right now,” said Councilor John Beauregard.

MBRTF Chairman Paul Vadenais said that while he understood the concern, even if the bond is approved, “You’re still going to be in that building for two and a half years.”

“This is buying us time,” said Vadenais. “We kind of have to spend this money.”

And Weaver said a delay in action could put the town at risk of an uninsured accident.

“You have to be substantially making the building safer,” he said.

“If something was to happen at that building we wouldn’t want to be in that situation,” said Councilor Douglas Osier.

A base bid of $265,000 was awarded to Dubon Masonry Construction out of East Greenwich for asbestos abatement, framing and masonry repairs and work on the roof and flashing, as recommended by Tecton Architects. “Alternates,” make up the remainder of the $440,000 price tag, to be completed as needed, including repairs to the exterior stairs, removal of brick above windows and the frame of the building, and sidewalk and ramp repairs.

Councilor Paulette Hamilton noted that the town’s Department of Public Works recently completed sidewalk repair, and the town should not have to pay for the item twice.

Asked if that work would be taken off the bid, Vadenais responded, “I’d like Mr. Weaver to look at that sidewalk repair. It’s questionable. It’s not really smooth.”

Weaver noted that the trust will be satisfied as long as repairs are moving forward on a timeline, with a reasonable plan in place for the future of the property. 

“Right now, there’s no action pending from the trust,” he said. “There have been steps that have been taken to try to mitigate some of the risk. It’s really about making the building safe. I do think that it is far beyond its useful life.”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. A reminder to all that while criticism of an elected official’s policy decisions are one thing, personal attacks violate our commenting policy and will be removed. Keep it civil folks – and know that those who go after the same targets in a troll-like fashion, commenting under false names, could have their IP addresses blocked entirely if we see continued violations.

      • I deleted several this morning a bit hastily as there were a few that initially seemed over the line. Upon second review, yours wasn’t actually that bad and has been restored. That said, it is personal, and our policy dictates that commentary should be kept away from accusations directed at individuals, and focused on policy or issue discussions. If that’s a problem, for anyone commenting then yes, please move along. You should also know it is much easier on our end to judge if a comment is from someone with sincere concerns and things to say – or merely meant to incite others – when real names are used.. or at least a single fake name is chosen.

  2. So I’m guessing you and Tommy R, do not want to work on my campaign next year. Can I at least count on you two for a donation or to hold a sign?

    • Read the writing on the wall….the crumbling wall of the police station. No love there.
      I am guessing you wanting a new grand police station is to take care of old comrades seeing you were once a trooper and so, want to stick with that LEO love fest and bonding done way back.

      The town does need a new station, but not wasted space or wasted monies. And many police stations have wasted space in their design. So if the old one was let go to render it to its current gross state, who is to say the new one will be appropriately maintained to last as it should? These are burning questions and valid concerns from the town folk. They want to know that their wishes, their votes, are respected and not thrown aside anymore.

  3. John Beauregard is the person responsible for the police station deferred maintenance issues and current insurance problems. John wants a new Taj Mahal police station with zero regard for the taxpayer or the cost. John has caused more problems for the town with the nike issue, solar mess, football field outsourcing, procurement violations, and backroom meetings that violate the opens meetings laws, then he has helped. I think it’s time for voters to “just do it” and not vote for John B.

    • John Beauregard has so much power in this town!! John Beauregard made it so not one person would do anything to fix the current police station. John Beauregard also is responsible for all the poor road conditions on every road in town. John Beauregard is responsible for the PFAS in the water at the school. John Beauregard is responsible for our declining test scores in math at the high school. John Beauregard is responsible for the superfund sites in town. It doesn’t matter that most have been here for decades, it’s his fault. It’s John Beauregard’s fault when the bathrooms aren’t open at the turf field. When Covid -19 hit NS, you know who’s fault it was!! John Beauregard is responsible for when the power goes out at my house. John Beauregard ruined Christmas for me as a child. It’s al his fault.

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