Sale of old police station to be topic of new advisory committee

Jan 8, 2024

For months, the town, Select Board and Historical Commission have debated the value of the old police station on Russells Mills Road — now, the Select Board may “let the market decide” what the building is worth. 

At the suggestion of Chair David Tatelbaum, the Select Board will look into putting the former police station — which was closed in 2014 after legionella bacteria was found inside — up for sale. At its Jan. 8 meeting, the board charged a new, yet-to-be-formed advisory committee with looking into the option, which would then require June Town Meeting approval. 

“What I think this represents is a compromise — it doesn’t tear the building down, but seeks its value, at not a cost to the town and we can really find out what it’s worth without a lot of pain and suffering,” Tatelbaum said. 

The move comes directly after Town Counsel Anthony Savastano reported that the Historical Commission does not have a legal right to contest the old police station’s demolition. 

Select Board member Stanley Mickelson raised a motion to move forward with the demolition, but it did not receive a second vote. Mickelson maintains that the building is dangerous and should not be reused. 

The building was first built in 1926 and served as Dartmouth’s Town Hall.

It eventually became the town’s police station, and was left unoccupied after legionella bacteria was found in the pipes in 2014. An officer became sick that year with what was diagnosed as Legionnaires Disease, which is caused by the bacteria. The building has since been vacant. 

In 2016, an $8.5 million plan to renovate the station was rejected at Town Meeting. In 2019, a committee to look into the police station was formed, which decided that reuse was not an option. The demolition of the building has been approved at Town Meeting twice.