Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Considering The Options

Calls mount for police HQ in downtown
Link (JG)

"Mayor Tom Henry has asked Police Chief Rusty York to begin looking for a new location for the police station, and every option is on the table for consideration, York said Tuesday.

Options could include moving downtown, co-locating with the Fort Wayne Fire Department and possibly sharing a building with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, York said."


"Whether the department should stay in the former Phelps Dodge Magnet Wire building was hotly debated when the City Council signed the current lease in 2005. City officials had contemplated co-locating fire, police and code enforcement in the Renaissance Square building on Berry Street. As recently as last year, the option of moving city departments into the Renaissance Square building was still on the table.

At least one city official has suggested the building, which temporarily housed the Allen County Public Library, could be a possible location for the police department.

Moving downtown would put the department closer to the courts and the prosecutor’s office, York said."


"City Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, said the city should consider co-locating the police and sheriff’s departments. As the city and county consider streamlining local government, sharing one building between the two police agencies would be a positive move, he said.

But Hines, whose district includes the neighborhood where the current station is located, isn’t hopeful that will happen, citing the past unwillingness to combine city and county dispatch centers. He said officials have tunnel vision when it comes to what’s best for their departments.

Hines supports moving the police station out of the Hanna-Creighton area, which historically has been the poorest area of the city. A central location downtown would better serve the entire city, Hines said."

The current location of police HQ at 1302 East Creighton Ave was built in 1893 and is 69,228 square feet in size, according to the location's property tax card.

Renaissance Square is listed on LoopNet as being built in 1978 and at a size of 267,137 square feet, with 30,823 square feet being utilized by the Lincoln Museum.

Renaissance Square would seem to have enough space to house both departments and has access to a parking garage across Clinton Street through a connected walkway.

If the police were to move out of their current historic building, however, it would likely be at risk of being demolished unless another tenant could be found.

Another option would be the construction of a completely new building to house both departments. If this path were to be chosen, the building should accommodate both the city and county law enforcement and any other departments from both governmental entities that would benefit from co-location with the two departments. Such a building should also be located downtown in the vicinity of the Courthouse and the jail.

However, Renaissance Square seems to be a good fit in terms of size and location and would likely cost less to take over as opposed to new construction.