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The Yankee Express

New Charlton Fire Substation and Amazon Facility on Track

Charlton voters approved a Design and Development request at a recent town meeting to build a new Fire Department substation.

By Janet Stoica

Charlton voters might not have approved the Public Safety Complex previously requested but the Fire Department substation has proven to be more palatable. “With a community our size, our best option was a substation,” said Andrew Golas, Charlton Town Administrator, “Right now, our station on Power Station Road and the Quonset hut where we store our tower truck are the better facilities we have. Unfortunately, the old highway barn across from Town Hall is not the ideal place to be storing one of our fire engines, a rescue truck, our boat, and secondary apparatus pieces as it floods constantly. We hope to build a substation in front of our Heritage Elementary School on Oxford Road which is on town property.”
At the recent town meeting, voters passed a Design and Development Request for the site and a full proposal for debt exclusion will be brought before voters at the Spring 2024 Town Meeting for the approximately $17 million investment. Apparently voters realize that the construction costs will never decrease and a better facility is greatly needed.  “This substation will improve overall response times,” stated Golas, “A study done from our $150,000 state grant showed an improvement of two minutes’ response time. Charlton consists of 46 square miles and a single station made sense at its inception but the town is growing.” (Author note: if one has ever experienced a house fire as I have with a next-door neighbor’s home, the time spent waiting for fire personnel and equipment to arrive seems like forever. An improved response time of two minutes is a huge leap for public safety. My personal experience.)
The town also offers an active project page for the substation and residents are encouraged to visit
“Our Amazon warehouse facility is moving along at a good pace too,” Administrator Golas said, “and our population has hovered around 13,500 for the past 10 years but with Amazon bringing in 1,000 new jobs additional housing needs will be right behind the additional employee additions. This is an Amazon keystone project and is going full steam ahead. They are just finishing their electrical and mechanical work and probably in the next eight months all will be completed to get their systems operational. The company site will have two access points with Route 20 being their main entry and Route 169 being the secondary entrance for employees only.”
With Amazon funding, Charlton’s Main Street sidewalk improvements should be on track as well. The town has begun reaching out to abutters for the sidewalk refreshment project. A big plus to improve the pedestrian network throughout town.
The Dudley-Charlton Regional School District budget is on track and the new fiscal year budget should be ready for voter review in the next two months. Schools do have to await the Chapter 70 state funds before finalizing their own budgets. “We were glad that Dudley voters eventually approved their share of the regional budget. We all want the best education for our children,” said Golas. 
A round-table breakfast was recently held for Charlton small businesses and Golas stated that the town will now take the businesses’ feedback into consideration and they hope to work together to improve the business climate with the town overall. Administrator Golas also mentioned that any business is welcome to reach out to him to discuss any ideas they might have. He may be contacted at 508-248-2202. 

Contact Janet: [email protected]