Report by Paula Antolini
May 13 2017 9:48AM EDT
BETHEL ADVOCATE REPORTING ON THE SCENE
VIDEOS/PHOTOS: New Bethel Police Station Groundbreaking Ceremony Draws a Large Crowd
The evening was met with a jovial atmosphere as people gathered on the lawn of the future new Bethel Police Station building, on Judd Avenue, in Bethel, CT, in anticipation of the long awaited groundbreaking ceremony on May 10, 2017. Bethel Police, Bethel Firefighters, and Bethel CERT groups were represented in the large crowd of onlookers, along with a state trooper, politicians, other town and school officials, contractor and design company officials, and residents.
VIEW VIDEO OF GROUNDBREAKING:
Public Site and Building Committee Chairman Jon Menti, Bethel Police Chief Jeffrey Finch, and Bethel First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker all spoke at the event before shovels hit the dirt and the beginning of the construction project was made official.
Chief Finch said, “This started the first year I was here as a Chief. In fact I want to thank and mention, there was a Police Commissioner, Tom Mason, who earnestly planned for this building, that’s when it started, back in 1999, 2000.”
Finch thanked others too, and said, “There’s been a lot of people along the way that I want to thank and recognize for that, from the Selectmen, Judy Novacek, who first gave us the seed money to start the program. And it was the architect, Brian Humes, who made it very clear to me that you won’t get any building if you don’t get the political support and the leadership of your town.” Finch also thanked many others including the public, and Bill Hillman for “getting the word out to the public” and Police Commissioner Michael Duff as well.
First Selectman Knickerbocker said, “This came together as part of a, it had a couple of hiccups along the way …” He thanked Bill Hillman, Larry Craybas and Alice Hutchinson, among others. “The three of them put together a non-partisan community-wide organizing effort to get this final referendum through, and I thank all of you for that effort,” Knickerbocker said.
Knickerbocker also stated that Chief Finch thought he [Finch] would be long gone/retired before the building would be built. “I am very glad to disappoint him on that,” Knickerbocker said. He also joked that, “It usually takes 20 years to build a project.”
Jon Menti, the Chairman of the Public Site & Building Commission, said, “I’d like to welcome you all here today for this long, long overdue project to kick off.”
“I want to thank some people who really worked hard on this project, Menti said, “The Public Site and Building Committee, the men and women who worked on this project, past members, present members, who put in a lot of hours, a lot of time and effort.” He thanked Nancy Ryan his co-chair, Josh Adams, Deno Gualtieri, Victor Holomakoff,
John Perna, Roy Steiner, Srgt. Durkin, and Kathy Galbis. Also past members were acknowledged, Detective Srgt. Jim Wright (retired), Jim Palmer. Also Bill Cratty/ Chairman of the Energy Conservation Committee, Beth Cavagna/Town Planner, Tom Galliford/Emergency Management Director, Bethel Police Captain Steve Pugner, and Chief Jeffrey Finch.
“Chief Finch has done an extraordinary job of getting the little details inside the building,” Menti said.” He put a lot of time and effort into that, he’s worked with the committee from day one, and I tell you, having his expertise and his fine details has made this project what it is to be.”
First Selectman Knickerbocker said the work would begin this Monday. The project’s completion is, at this point, expected in the Fall of 2018.
Click on all photos to view larger.
The project includes:
Jeffrey Finch, Chief of Police
Stephen Pugner, Captain
Robert Durkin, Sergeant
Board of Selectmen:
Matthew Knickerbocker, Bethel First Selectman
Richard Straiton, Bethel Selectman
Paul Szatkowski, Bethel Selectman
Public Site & Building Commission:
Jon D. Menti, Chair
Nancy J. Ryan, Vice-Chair
Deno S. Gualtieri
John A. Perna
Kathy Galbis, Secretary
Jacunski Humes Architects, LLC
Downes Construction Company
VIDEO of First Selectman Knickerbocker commenting:
VIEW MORE PHOTOS OF GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY BELOW:
More video and photos to come shortly! Check back soon!