MELROSE — On Tuesday, September 26, Melrose Responds formally announced the creation of a committee to support passage of the public safety buildings debt exclusion that will appear on the November 7, 2023 ballot. The campaign committee is led by Melrose residents Alyssa Pesce and Cory Thomas.

“I’m excited to launch this campaign, to build on the extensive and hard work of the public safety buildings committee and deliver a solution for our first responders,” said Pesce. “Our Melrose Fire and Police officers have worked in dangerous and outdated facilities for far too long. We, as a community, have to respond to the needs of our public safety officers as we know they will always respond to our needs.”

An order to place the debt exclusion on the fall ballot was signed by Mayor Paul Brodeur on September 7, following unanimous adoption by the City Council earlier that same week. The dilapidated state of the city’s three fire stations and single police station has been well-documented. The ballot question asks voters to authorize a debt exclusion to pay the costs to borrow funds to renovate and rebuild the city’s four time-worn fire and police stations. its three fire stations and one police station. This proposal is consistent with the optimal solution reached by the Public Safety Buildings Committee (PSBC) and detailed in its July 2023 report available online.

After 18 months of deliberation that began with a comprehensive needs assessment for each department and included dozens of committee meetings, consultation with an architecture and engineering firm, two public learning sessions, two police and fire open houses, and regular progress reports to the City Council, the PSBC concluded that by 2023, Melrose’s public safety buildings have “far exceeded their intended purpose and usable lives.” As a result, police and fire personnel work in facilities that are “outdated, undersized, unhygienic, non-code compliant, and incapable of supporting 21st Century police and fire programming or the high-quality community services these departments strive to provide.”

Central Fire, the oldest and most historically significant of the four stations, is nearly 130 years old and was originally built to accommodate horse-drawn carriages. Melrose Fire Engine 2 on Tremont Street and Engine 3 on East Foster Street, were built in 1929 and 1964, respectively. The Melrose Police Department, which once operated from the basement of City Hall, has operated out of the former telephone exchange building on West Foster Street for 72 years. That building was built in 1907.

“This investment in our public safety officers is long overdue. I’m proud to be co-leading this campaign,” said Thomas, lifelong resident and former City Councilor. “Melrose Responds is not just an investment in our Public Safety Buildings, our officers, but also allows for the City of Melrose to build and invest in a safer future.”