by Terry Rogers
On Monday, January 28, Milford City Council approved the purchase of the GROWMARK FS, LLC property as well as A1 Glass Company located across from the current police station. The City is in the process of planning for a new police station. Council also approved a contract with Becker Morgan Group who will work with the Police Department and community stakeholders to plan the replacement police station. Before the vote, Chief Kenneth Brown provided Council with details regarding the need for a new station.
“When the current police station was built, it was designed for 12 officers,” Chief Brown said. “We now have 37. We have rearranged every office and space that we can to try to accommodate our growing police force. Not only are we out of space for our officers, we have significant safety and compliance issues.”
Chief Brown explained that the public has complete access to the outside of the building, even when officers are transporting prisoners from police cars into the building. The building is blocked on one side by the river and on the other side by Route 14.
“When we bring prisoners into the building, they are handcuffed,” Chief Brown said. “If there is a time they will try to escape, it is during the transfer from the car to the building. If that happens, they are either going to try to run to the river or run into the street. If that happens, we are going to be liable if they are hurt or killed while in our custody. We often have to break up opposing parties in the lobby because we have no way to separate them. Our officers must take complaints in the lobby in front of other people who are not involved. We definitely need a new building.”
The Becker Morgan contract includes land surveys, developing a conceptual plan, architectural design, developing a project budget and preliminary planning on uses of the portions of the 15.8-acre property not needed for the police station, according to Eric Norenberg, City Manager.
“The architects will meet with police and other City officials to determine their needs and will also participate in City-sponsored public meetings to receive community input,” Norenberg said. “The end result of this phase will be a design and budget to show the Mayor and city Council, who could then authorize a resolution to seek voter approval for funding the project. No timing has been set for any vote.”
Council agreed to purchase the GROWMARK FS, LLC property for $875,000 and the A1-Glass property for $195,000. There is already a $50,000 deposit on the GROWMARK FS, LLC property and $2,000 on the A-1 Glass property. Funds for the purchase of both properties were moved from electric reserves. The Becker Morgan contract was $149,000 and those funds came from general reserves.
“Our goal is to engage the community in planning a functional and attractive headquarters that will not only meet the police department’s needs but also be accessible to Milford residents for community use,” Norenberg said.
Chief Brown also believes that the new building will provide a safer environment for his officer as well as the community.
“The new headquarters will provide a safer environment for police and public, create hub for community policing and engagement and enable the department to reach national standards to prepare for the future,” Chief Brown said.
During the discussion about the police station, Councilman Owen Brooks questioned what was happening with the City Hall basement which flooded during thunderstorms a few months before. Planning and Zoning, which had been housed in the basement, moved to Airport Road due to the water in the building.
“That is a good question,” Mayor Archie Campbell said. “There are six people working in this building. It is probably going to cost a lot of money to waterproof this basement and there may not be a guarantee that it will work. I think we may need to look at the requirements under the Vail family gift to see what is required of this property. It may be more cost effective to create a municipal building that houses the police department and the offices in this building.”
The request to purchase the two properties and the contract for Becker Morgan was approved unanimously.
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