May 20, 2024

The Needham Channel

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A Town’s Determination (and Twice the Dedication)

Needham Channel Staff Photos

There was twice the reason for celebration on June 30th, as town and state officials gathered with residents to dedicate Needham’s newest public buildings, the Public Safety Complex on Chestnut Street and Fire Station #2 on Highland Avenue. The feelings expressed centered on the sense of achievement, relief, deep gratitude, and a bit of sentimentality as the ceremonies took place just ahead of the planned retirement of Fire Chief Dennis Condon. Condon was a very visual proponent of the construction of the new buildings over the last few years of the project.

Needham Fire Station #2 Dedication Cermemony

“It’s a big work, by a big team, lots of people…and I am grateful to all of them.”
–Select Chair Marianne Cooley
The festivities kicked off at 4pm at the Needham Fire Station #2, where an oversized American flag greeted guests coming to tour the new facility. Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick welcomed the crowd and emceed the event. Select Chair Marianne Cooley thanked the many people who had a hand in the replacement of the firehouse, which was on the town’s master plan for replacement since 1999, and the initiative is the culmination of a seven year active effort. Stuart Chandler, Chair of the town’s Permanent Public Building Committee noted that the building the firehouse replaced was first built in 1949. This new building finally brings the Heights fire station up to the state of the art. he also noted that what made this project particularly complicated was the fact that service from the fire station had to be uninterrupted, leading to a temporary facility at Hillside School, so in effect the project was more akin to building two fire stations. The remarks were brought to a close by Chief Dennis Condon, who felt the history of the moment, and made note of the bell hanging in the tower. It was the fire bell for the town’s original Fire Station 2, and he took pride that in the new building it would call to tradition and provide a sense of continuity.
The officials gathered by the emergency vehicles for the ribbon cutting, and then the station was opened up for tours. The full dedication may be watched by clicking on this link. As the tours continued, the second part of the ceremony was getting underway on Chestnut Street, at the Public Safety Complex.

As it did, it became clear that the town officials were not the only ones rushing to get in place. State Senator Becca Rausch explained to the gathered crowd that she was multi-tasking, waiting to voice her vote on Beacon Hill, while joining in at the Needham Celebration. She took the opportunity to congratulate the town on the end of the construction project, and to congratulate Fire Chief Condon on his upcoming retirement after 36 years of service to the town. The sentiment was echoed by Police Chief John Schlittler in his remarks. “I’d like to thank Dennis Condon for our friendship and our relationship over the past five to six years as Chief. You’ll truly be missed, and I wish you nothing but the best in your retirement. You can still come back, you know…”

He continued that his favorite part of the new building is the community room named for fallen officers Francis Haddock and Forbes McLeod, one of the many ways Needham’s history was being carried into the new building.”We, as a community, should never forget the contributions and sacrifices that these two noble and brave officers made as they carried out their duties on February 2, 1934.”

The ceremony concluded with a cutting of two ribbons, one blue and one red, each representing each of the public safety department being stationed in the new structure.

Needham Public Safety Complex Dedication

“I vote ‘No’…I’m delivering a speech. Thanks!”
–State Senator Becca Rausch, pausing her remarks to cast a Senate vote.
As with Fire Station #2, tours of the Public Safety Complex were given at the conclusion of the ceremony. You can watch the full remarks of the dedication by clicking here.