On Monday, March 9, City Council was expecting to hear from a representative of the Everett Fire Department on the redevelopment of the Central Fire Station.
Instead, it received a stack of photos.
The station at 384 Broadway has been under renovation since spring of last year. The Everett Fire Department has since been operating out of its two other locations on Hancock and Ferry streets. Construction has far exceeded initial timeframes, leaving some councilors and residents frustrated.
Councilor Fred Capone had requested updates on the fire station, including any progress made, work remaining and a schedule for completion. Instead, Fire Chief Anthony Carli sent Council a 13-page packet containing 12 pages of photos with no captions or descriptions, and one page with a small timeline.
APC Construction Company was awarded the project in April 2019. The timeline shows that the majority of the work was supposed to be completed by October 2019. Almost half a year later, the company still needs to install masonry, remove shoring, fabricate and install overhead doors, clear debris, waterproof, and replace the apron. In addition, electrical upgrades are dependent upon National Grid work slated for mid-April.
The contractor’s new projected completion date is May 7, but it is unclear how the COVID-19 outbreak could affect this. Boston recently declared a moratorium on construction projects, and that is likely to filter into Everett, too – though nothing had been declared from City officials by press time March 17.
Seth McCullough, of the Local 143 Everett Firefighters Union, expressed frustration over not being able to return to the Central Fire Station.
“We’re delaying our response times by not being there,” he told Council. “I’m worried about what else is going to delay.”
McCullough said the union was in the dark regarding the renovation, and thanked Council for bringing up the matter.
“Information hasn’t been shared with the union,” he said. “We just want to be on the same page.”
Councilors shared the union’s concerns around the setbacks.
“It’s unacceptable that it takes 18 days to receive and install a door, a month for simple electrical work and a month to release paperwork,” said Councilor Stephanie Martins, referencing the timeline. “This is unacceptable when it comes to first-responders for a city. We should evaluate APC Construction and the quality of bids we’re approving.”
“You can tell a building is not moving forward when they don’t take the labels out of the windows,” said Councilor Wayne Matewsky. “It looks terrible. We’re not happy with this project. They’ve ripped the City off.”
The councilman added that construction equipment is still blocking street access.
“This has been a disgrace,” he continued. “I go by there every day, and it’s disgusting. There’s nobody even cleaning the windows.”
“This is a safety issue,” said Council President Rosa DiFlorio. “Clearly we’re well behind the contract date. There’s going to be damages from this contractor.”
The matter was referred to the Fire Chief, the Planning Department and the City’s Chief Financial Officer.