EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 13, 2013

Hampstead OKs $1.6M police station

By Alex Lippa

---- — HAMPSTEAD — After rejecting four earlier proposals for a new police station, voters yesterday finally said yes.

Residents voted, 1,084-837, in favor of the proposed 7,500-square-foot police station. The station will cost the taxpayers $1.63 million. Residents will pay for the station in just one year.

Police Chief Joseph Beaudoin was at Hampstead Middle School talking to voters throughout the day. Last night, after the voters were counted, he was all smiles.

“We’re ecstatic,” Beaudoin said. “We want to thank the residents. The committee worked really hard this year to provide the town with what they want.”

Beaudoin said the key was the article only needed a simple majority to pass. In previous years, articles required 60 percent approval.

Stephen Londrigan, chairman of the Police Station Building Committee, said there’s still a lot of work to do.

“We now need to do everything we can to make sure it’s under budget,” he said last night.

Beaudoin said he hopes to start construction at the Veterans Way site in September.

Voters at the polls yesterday were overwhelmingly supportive of the plan.

“We need to keep our police force up to date,” Kathleen Stevens said. “I’ve voted for it every year and I think it needs to be done.”

Marilyn Lermond said she supported the new police station because of the inadequacies of the current one.

“It’s just been such a long time and they have such a tiny space,” she said. “Now is the time to get it done.”

Steve Hogan was one of the few who admitted to voting against the station.

“We don’t need a new facility with the number of people we have in town right now,” he said. “We don’t need our taxes raised.”

Town Clerk Patricia Curran said it was a slow, but steady stream of voters throughout the day. Thirty-one percent of voters turned out yesterday.

There were only two contested town races on the ballot this year. Londrigan and Ann Howe won seats on the Budget Committee, beating Chris Howe. Chad Bennett and Chris Dane won seats on the Planning Board, defeating Proctor Wentworth, Glen Emerson and Jeff Mackey.

While the police station was approved, the request for another full-time police officer was not. Voters turned down the $51,000 article, 1,081-807

The $5.3 million operating budget was approved. Voters chose to raise $28,500 for new extrication equipment for the fire department.

Voters rejected a $5,000 donation to the Sad Cafe, a nonprofit music venue for young adults.

All other articles were approved, including $5,000 toward upkeep of recreation fields.

In the school district, voters elected Jason Cipriano to the School Board. He beat Robert O’Brien, 1,050-673.

Voters also overwhelmingly approved the $23.7 million school district budget, 1,543-316.

Hampstead voters approved teacher and support personnel contracts. They opted not to allow the School Administrative Unit Budget to be voted on separately, a citizen petitioned article.