New Bedford announces plans for new public safety complex

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — New Bedford officials announced plans Wednesday to improve public safety in the city while paying tribute to a fallen public safety leader.

As part of the city’s $70.8 million Capital Improvement Program, the city plans to build a combined police and fire station in the city’s south end to replace the existing buildings that are each more than a century old.

The CIP was set into motion in 2013 and now three years into it, Mayor Jon Mitchell unveiled a proposal to construct the $5.5 million public safety complex.

If approved, Mitchell said it will be the first new public safety building built in the city in decades.

“For a long time, the city didn’t do good planning, or no planning at all, and what we’re doing is focusing on the long run,” he said.

The two fire stations were built in 1882 and 1907 and the police station is an old former library, all of which Mitchell believes are “long overdue for replacement.”

If all goes according to plan, the new building would be named the Chief David Provencher Public Safety Center, named after the city’s former police chief who died unexpectedly in December.

“I think it’s a good idea to name it after Dave,” the mayor added.

The name would have to be approved by the city council.

Mayor Mitchell didn’t provide an exact timeline Wednesday but said it will take at least a few years to complete a feasibility study and design and construct the complex.

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