Residents turn out for grand opening of safety complex

Residents turn out for grand opening of safety complex

A new sign was revealed at the John J. Partington Public Safety Complex in Cumberland, during the grand opening ceremony, Saturday. (Breeze photos by Bill Murphy)

CUMBERLAND – Hundreds of residents turned out for the official opening of the new John J. Partington Public Safety Complex last Saturday, April 27, then toured a state-of-the-art facility officials said belongs to every one of them.

A series of speakers hailed both the good work to complete the combined police and rescue building at 1379 Diamond Hill Road and the character of the former police chief it is named after.

Chief of Police John Desmarais drew laughs when he referred to Partington as “the commish,” saying the former chief cared deeply about the much larger family of law enforcement. Desmarais handed out commemorative coins to all past members of the department in attendance, telling them they’re part of that family and this is their building.

With members of the Partington family sitting in the front row, Desmarais fondly recalled Chief Partington’s familiar greeting in his great deep voice, “how you doin, brother?” He shared of his great contributions to law enforcement, including helping to create the federal witness protection program.

Police will enjoy the safety of this new complex even as they work to keep the town of Cumberland and its residents safe, said Desmarais.

Former Mayor Bill Murray, who was in office during construction of the facility, drew cheers with his first statement: “Mission accomplished.”

Turning to Desmarais, Murray said, “Chief, you have a beautiful new home here.” It was completed “not only on budget, but under budget,” said Murray, thanking new Mayor Jeff Mutter for overseeing the completion of the job at a final price tag of about $12 million, below the original estimate of $12.5 million.

Murray credited Public Works Director Bob Anderson and former Chief of Staff George Stansfield for their hard work shepherding the project to completion, with nothing in the plans cut out.

This is “a new home the police and the whole town can be proud of,” he said, urging police to enjoy every bit of it.

Mutter said this is a foundational building for the town that reflects the hard work of a lot of people. He said “the best is yet to come” for the police department, and this complex is a true testament to the good work that first responders do on a daily basis.

Attorney Gen. Peter Neronha called the day a moving and historic occasion, saying it reflects the professionalism and integrity of local police and the man it was named after.

Former Mayor Dan McKee was one of several who noted the quality of the construction that went into the 20-square-foot complex. He said the complex and its bright new community room, where residents gathered for food and drink after Saturday’s speeches, is a fitting tribute to Partington and his love of community.

Michael McKeon, of architect Kaestle Boos Associates and a Cumberland native, told The Breeze his company first became involved with the planning for this project nearly a decade ago. When planners finally landed on creating a new safety complex across the street from the existing police station, “it was a godsend” as an ideal location, he said.

That kicked off a long and interactive process with the chief, members of the Building Committee and others as concepts became designs based on the needs and size of the department, said McKeon.

The fact that the project came in on budget was remarkable given growing inflation over the past two years, he said. One could never build this same complex for $12 million today.

Every detail of this complex was carefully planned, said McKeon, to be functional and safe.

“It’s a nice-looking building,” he said.

One significant cost savings came when McKeon and his team were able to show town and police officials that they didn’t need to build the entire complex out of steel and concrete. When everyone came to the realization that a quality structure could still come about through use of metal studs and more traditional building materials, with concrete roof still used for the detention area of the facility, the savings came, he said.

The Rev. Charles Galligan, police chaplain, gave the invocation at last Saturday’s event, Mutter was emcee, the Partington family led the Pledge of Allegiance, the Cumberland Glee Club did the National Anthem, and the Rev. Joseph Paquette, also police chaplain, gave the benediction.

Former Cumberland Mayor Bill Murray, second from the right, cuts the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony for the new John J. Partington Public Safety Complex in Cumberland. Looking on are, from the left, Cumberland Police Chief John R. Desmarais, Chief of Emergency Medical Services John Pliakas, Mayor Jeffrey Mutter and former mayor, Lt. Governor Daniel McKee. The complex, like the current police station across Diamond Hill Road, is named in honor of the late former Cumberland resident and police officer and chief.
Guests in the crowd applaud a speaker during the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new John J. Partington Public Safety Complex in Cumberland, Saturday.
Cooper Bruscini, 4, of Cumberland, found the food after the grand opening of the town’s public safety complex last Saturday, served in the new community room at the front of the building, to be his favorite part of the event. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

Comments

How disappointing this article is. I guess having a new headquarters for the Town's Emergency Medical Services (Rescue) sharing the same building and housing the rescue that was in the fire station just isn't news worthy. Once again, Cumberland's rescue service is shunned. Shame on the town!

Though rescue wasn't a point of emphasis at this ceremony, we put out a special edition a week earlier highlighting that side of the complex.

Thank you town of Cumberland:
For putting this complex in our backyards.
For putting bright lights that annoy us through the night.
For the unwanted noises throughout the day and night from the rescue units, sirens and loud beeping noises when vehicles back up.
For not letting us open our windows anymore to get fresh air because of those unwanted noises.
For waking up my children because of those unwanted noises.
And lastly, thank you Valley Breeze for being a one sided newspaper and avoiding the concerns of neighboring houses around this complex that are a nuisance to every day life.

We are anything but one-sided, and are always more than ready to present all points. This is the first I've heard from any neighbors who have issues, which is not surprising since the complex just opened. Please feel free to reach out anytime with your concerns, ethan@valleybreeze.com