It’s no secret our town of Bedford, New Hampshire has enjoyed terrific quality growth in housing, schools, business and services over the past 20 years. It’s why Bedford continues to be one of the most highly sought after communities to live and create business due to its fine quality of life. Our elected officials and public service officials have done a terrific job in implementing a well thought out growth plan, which keeps our town at the top of the list in nearly every measured area a community would desire. In fact, I purchased my first home here some 15 years ago for the very reasons many others have and continue to do so; because of the Quality of Life. At the top of that Quality of Life list is SAFETY. We cannot take our safety for granted and as our town grows, it needs to be addressed from an emergency services standpoint.
Bedford has seen nearly 70% growth in population and a 227% increase in calls for service over the past 20 years. The South River Road corridor is home to 20% of the Town’s population and town-wide the daytime population explodes with an additional 40,000 people due to the numerous office complexes, medical facilities, retail stores and restaurants. All this is being serviced with one main safety station at 55 Constitution Drive on Route 101. For a community of our size, the ability to adequately respond to emergency calls are greatly hindered by limited personnel, and equipment, as well as the non-existence of strategically located response facilities. Similarly sized surrounding towns of Goffstown, Merrimack, Derry and Londonderry all have 3 or more stations.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) national guidelines for adequate response times for both fire and medical calls are within 6 minutes of a call, 4 minutes for travel and 2 for processing. Currently, Bedford averages 7 – 8 minutes in the South River Road area. The addition of our proposed substation will reduce these response times to 3 – 4 minutes. The facts are clear; we are not meeting the standard due to the lack of a substation in the South River Road area.
I own a 2,500 square foot residential home, 2 office spaces occupying nearly 10,000 square feet, 2 restaurants occupying some 15,000 square feet of space. On an average home value of $400,000 it will cost the homeowner a projected $94/year. For someone like myself and other business owners, that amount is higher as it should be. As a business owner, I view costs like this as an investment in protecting the future. In this case, it could mean protecting someone’s life in the future.
I urge you to vote supporting funding a substation in the South River Rd. corridor this coming Tuesday, March 11th at the Bedford High School.