The official opening of the renovated Darien Public Works garage took place on Wednesday June 13. Town administrators, elected officials, and employees of the Station attended the event with speeches by public works director Edward Gentile, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, and Jim Bosek.
Gentile began by thanking everyone for coming out. He spoke about the origins of the project, having unofficially started in June of 2014, but officially started in May of 2015, and said, “I had no idea what I was in for, but it’s all been fantastic.” In January of 2016, architects began designing the new station and in just a year and a half, construction officially began.
Gentile then thanked everyone who participated in the project, saying it “Wouldn’t have gone anywhere without the support of the administration and first selectman.” He also specifically thanked Kate Buch for getting the project through the approval process.
A groundbreaking ceremony on the project was held in July 2017 for the renovation for the Darien Department of Public Works garage, a key facility for the town’s public service and maintenance. The $6.3 million dollar renovation was overseen by a dedicated building committee under the purview of the Board of Selectmen.
Gentile introduced a preliminary project proposal to the Board of Selectmen in May 2016 citing the deteriorating conditions of the existing garage structure which was originally built in 1956. The building has been updated over the years, including a 1993 expansion to provide storage space for vehicles from DPW, the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Board of Education. However, a feasibility study conducted on behalf of the Department of Public Works highlighted the failing state of the building’s floors and other outdated safety measures, increasing the urgency of the project.
Gentile said the current renovation was designed with a 20 to 25 year outlook and the building structure is expected to have a life expectancy of 50 to 100 years.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson spoke, beginning by jokingly saying “We used that shovel, and I promised I’d return that shovel once the project was completed on time and under budget. This project has surpassed both expectations, which is an amazing accomplishment for a project of this complexity.”
Stevenson spent her first 24 hours in office visiting the station and saw that the employees treated it as a second home. So when the project was brought to her, she was immediately on board. She commended everyone on the “Amazing working relationship throughout this process” and thanked everyone for their patience for the project.
Co-chairman of the DPW Garage Building Committee, Jim Bosek, spoke briefly thanking the Representative Town Meeting, town administrators, and the first selectman for her “true organization skills.”
The event concluded with a ribbon cutting and social gathering.