The Rockport Department of Public works is a 24 hour a day operation. Crews of dedicated public workers are on-call to make the quality of life in the Town of Rockport as good as it can be. “The Barn,” as it’s endearingly referred to, has been the base of operations since 1958. It was converted from a storage garage to house the base of operations at a time when Rockport was experiencing a significant population growth and the utility infrastructure needed to keep up. Since 1958, the Rockport DPW has overseen countless capital projects that make Rockport what it is today.
Today, the Barn is substandard in every way, and is no longer the safe and healthy workplace the Town is obligated to provide. The footprint of the building is simply inadequate to house current operations safely and efficiently. As a result, millions of dollars of assets, including heavy machinery, plows, and dump trucks are parked outside, which increases maintenance and shortens vehicle life. In addition to the space constraints, it does not comply with current building codes, and lacks proper HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems. It is also in violation of fire codes and does not have a sprinkler system. Nor does it have the required spaces for vehicle maintenance and fluid controls, and has no vehicle lifts. Today, the Barn poses a serious safety hazard to the employees and is a liability for the Town.
Several studies over the past 20 years have confirmed that the building needs to be replaced. The Town hired Weston & Sampson, a firm with experience on more than 100 similar DPW projects across the region, to develop plans for a new building for Rockport. After several iterations, a reduced plan was presented to the Town in 2016, but failed at the ballot due to cost.
In 2018, the Town of Rockport appointed a Building Study Committee, which did a thorough review of the 2016 plan as well as other options, and concluded it is still the best and most cost-effective option to meet the needs of the Town for the next 50 years.
The Building Study Committee’s recommendation to proceed with this plan is supported by the Board of Selectmen, the Finance Committee, and the DPW Commissioners.
You can view the presentations made by each board at the October 9 Town Meeting, by clicking on the video clip, HERE, courtesy of 1623 Studios.
Please see the sidebar on the left for documents that explain the project plans and the costs in detail. If you have questions, please call 978-546-3525.