St. Johnsbury voters have approved the borrowing of up to $5.4 million dollars to pay for the renovation of the long-shuttered St. Johnsbury Armory on Main Street into a new public safety building.

The proposal passed on Tuesday by a vote of 255-170.

The Armory project now moves forward but town officials say there is still no guarantee the project will happen without more outside grant funding.

“We will advance this project - if it is in the best interest of the taxpayers of St. Johnsbury,” said Selectman Kevin Oddy on Monday.

The total cost of the project - which includes an expensive environmental clean-up of the site - is estimated to be over $5.8 million dollars but the town has already reduced that cost by nearly $500,000 by landing a large grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The town wants to renovate the contaminated but historic structure located at 1249 Main Street into a new police station and dispatch center using a combination of federal, state and local funding. The EPA grant was received in May to help clean up the environmental contamination at the site which includes PCBs, heavy metals and other contaminants.

The Armory, which opened in 1917, also housed the St. Johnsbury Recreation Department for many years until it was closed by the town in 2009.

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