By Luke Baynes
The Vermont State Police hosted a public forum at its Williston barracks on Dec. 5 to gather feedback and answer questions about the long-term plans for the 52-year-old facility on Vermont 2A.
One Richmond resident attended the 6:30 p.m. meeting. No Williston residents showed up.
As the Observer reported in June, the state police, in conjunction with the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services, is in the process of conducting a $50,000 feasibility study for the potential replacement or consolidation of barracks in Bradford, Brattleboro, Middlesex, Rockingham, Rutland, St. Johnsbury, Shaftsbury and Williston.
At the Dec. 5 meeting, Capt. Glenn Hall, who serves as state police commander of Troop A (Williston, St. Albans and Middlesex), said the Williston barracks is in better condition than most of the other facilities and is thus low in the pecking order for replacement.
“The Williston barracks is not high on the priority list as far as replacing the eight barracks that we need to replace,” Hall said. “There’s certainly other barracks that need replacing much quicker than Williston.”
Hall noted that 10 potential sites for a new facility to replace the Williston barracks have been identified in Richmond and Milton. He said Richmond is the preferred location because of its proximity to towns without municipal police departments that the state police serves, such as Jericho and Bolton.
“I think the best location for the Williston barracks is probably somewhere in the area off the Richmond exit (of Interstate 89),” Hall said. “We need to have access to the interstate to cover the area that we cover.”
Maj. William Sheets, executive officer for the state police, said it could be quite some time before the Williston barracks is relocated.
“The fast track here literally could be 8 to 10 years (as) the fastest I could envision this being built. It could be as far out as 15 to 20 years,” Sheets said.