Conway’s current highway garage, above, on Route 116. Selectboard Chairman John O’Rourke has expressed disappointment after the town voted against a proposed $2.7 million new highway garage.
The salt shed in Conway.
CORRECTION: The Police Department will continue to be housed in the town office.
CONWAY — After a seven-year wait, the town is moving closer to making a new highway garage a reality.
On Monday, the Board of Selectmen approved a contract for $24,000 with Reinhardt Associates of Agawam to complete Phase 1 design plans for the proposed garage.
Townspeople will be asked to approve the designs at a special town meeting planned for June 16.
The Garage Committee — made up of Highway Director Ron Sweet, Police Chief Ken Ouimette and residents Tom Hill and Tom Shaw — have been meeting with Reinhardt Associates to develop the design.
The plan is to put a new garage, if townspeople approve, behind the salt shed on town property adjacent to the Conway Grammar School. The building would include space for the Highway and Police departments. The building would be insulated and provide shelter for the highway equipment, which currently sits outside.
Right now, the Highway Department shares a building on Route 116 with the Fire Department and ambulance. The Police Department is run out of the Town Office Building.
This week, the garage committee discussed a draft design and budget. The proposed budget originally was estimated at between $2.5 million and $2.7 million. But the town is working to get that cost down to about $2 million.
Selectboard Chairman John O’Rourke worries whether the town would approve the project once residents see the impact on their tax bills. The selectmen are trying to keep the costs of the project as low as possible.
Despite the selectmen’s concerns, townspeople have already indicated their support. Last May, townspeople approved $175,000 in engineering designs and permitting for the project from the garage stabilization fund.
The project has been seven years in the planning. It was put on hold three years ago when the town had to pay for a new school roof at the grammar school.
You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: email@example.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.