The Homer City Council will examine recommendations to build a new police station during its regular meeting May 30. The Police Station Building Task Force voted Tuesday to recommend constructing a new facility near Waddell Way just north of the post office.
The panel also weighed whether to expand the current police station, which was built in the 1980s. Task force member Coletta Walker said the city-owned Waddell site had great access on all sides and seemed like the logical choice.
“It had more acreage for us to build the police station on. We thought that was the better way to go and have more room to add on later, 30 or 40 years down the road,” she explained.
Walker noted there was concern over finding hazardous material if the current station was expanded, adding to the price tag.
The task force is recommending a $6 million and $9 million option. Public Works Director Carey Meyer has been working with the design team and task force.
“The existing police station is 5,500 square feet. The $6 million option at the Waddell site would provide 8,400 square feet,” he said. “The $9 million option would provide almost 14,000 square feet of building space.”
Police Chief Mark Robl broke down the department’s needs into essential, urgent and important categories in a memo to the task force. Meyer said both price-points cover essential needs, but the $9 million option begins to cover wants further down the list.
The building would likely be two stories. Meyer explained that the Waddell site would accommodate the design nicely.
“I think the committee as well as the design team thinks that site would really work well with a two-story building,” he said, “with the first floor being kind of a daylight basement accessing parking on the lower portion of the lot, and the second story would access parking adjacent to the upper portion of the lot.”
The city has been working towards building a new police station for a few years. Last fall, 53 percent of voters opposed a $12 million bond proposition. A temporary sales tax would have been implemented as part of the plan.
The task force has suggested issuing a general obligation bond, or issuing bonds to private citizens as a way to pay for the build. It also suggested having the contactor finance construction and purchasing the building at a later date.