Using his Midterm Address on Monday as a platform, Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced that the City would be starting the process of building a new Police Station.
In the speech, as a very short announcement that was much bigger news than the space it took up, the mayor said the City is working towards a new Police Station.
“We are in the process of designing a new Police Station,” he said with a smile, before quickly moving on to other initiatives.
However, the weight of the announcement was not lost on the public and the police, who have had frequent troubles with the existing Police Station on Elm Street. Last summer, the air conditioning went out for some time at the Station in the middle of a very hot stretch, making regional news as officers sweated it out.
Now, it looks like Mayor DeMaria has decided to move forward with the preliminary steps of getting a new station on the books.
“This is the very first Step 1,” said Planner Tony Sousa. “Prior to going before Council to look for funding for design or construction, we are starting with Step 1. This is studying the feasibility for a new facility and they will look at siting and needs and design.”
Economic Development director Tess Kohanski said the City put out a bid for an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) for the project in late December. Those bids are due on February 3, and will be opened at that time. The City will chose a bidder on the project, and that company would likely put together a Feasibility Study by the fall of 2020.
“It’s bigger than just the air conditioning now,” said Kohanski. “It’s getting to the point where the air conditioning is a problem, the entire building is an issue and it’s outdated and falling down around them as we go.”
Right now, there is nothing firm as to what kind of Station would be constructed.
It could be a major renovation of the existing Station; it could be a demolition of the existing Station and re-build on the same site; or it could be a relocation of a new Station to another site.
The OPM would likely begin by speaking with Chief Steve Mazzie about the needs for a new Station, and what he and the officers want for a new Station. They would then conduct the Feasibility Study and Site Study.
“That will look at whether it is replacing the building where it is now, renovating what is there or building a new building on a totally different site,” said Kohanski. “We will get an idea of where it should be sited and also we’ll have a scope of the size and the needs of the Station. That will give us budget numbers and we can go to Council for funding and then go for full design.”
Sousa said he expected that the project would come to the Council as part of a future Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) after the study is completed.
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