By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Police Department will soon move from its cramped space in the municipal building into a place of its own.
“This is phenomenal,” said Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier. “We’re excited for it.”
Groveport City Council authorized City Administrator Marsha Hall to enter into a contract to purchase a 6,000 square foot, one story, office building made of concrete and metal and located at 5690 Clyde Moore Drive in Groveport. The building, which was built in 1999 and contains 17 offices as well as a training room, will become the new home for the police department.
According to Hall, the police department’s move to its own building not only gives police officers more room to operate, it will also free up needed office space in the municipal building.
Hall said the newly acquired building has more than double the amount of space than the police department currently uses at the municipal building, located at 655 Blacklick St. She said the police could be in their own building by the end of this year.
Hall said the building’s owner, Greenpointe Park, LTD, is asking $495,000 for the property.
“We are still negotiating the final purchase price,” said Hall.
In addition to authorizing the purchase of the property, council also approved the issuance of $800,000 in bonds to pay for buying the property as well as to fund improvements to the new police station and to upgrade the municipal building.
Finance Director Jeff Green said the goal is to pay off the bonds in eight years.
Hall said the office building for the police will be remodeled to include two locker rooms, plumbing improvements, a prisoner intake room, a secure evidence room and a driveway to the rear of the building. The new police station will also house the city’s emergency operations center to be used in case of a local disaster.
According to Hall, planned improvements to the municipal building will include: moving the building department into the former police space, increasing conference room and office space, creating a lunch room and moving the law director, council clerk and clerk of courts into the current building department space.
Hall said it was more affordable for the city to buy an existing building for the police station rather than build a new one.
“It would cost $5 million to build a new police station,” said Hall. “The city did not want to borrow that much money to do that. The debt from building the recreation center will be paid off in 10 years and we want to pay that off before we pursue any more new construction.
Portier said the new police station should serve the city well for the next 15 to 25 years.
“We’re not moving out of town. Actually, this puts us approximately in the geographic center of the city,” said Portier.
Portier said the new police station will improve police response time because it is near major, open roads, unlike the current police station, which is situated among narrow alleys and residential streets.
Portier said other advantages of the new police station include: it can be more easily updated to adapt to future digital technology; it will be more accessible to residents; citizens will be able to make police reports in a more private setting than at the municipal building; it is more secure for handling prisoners than the municipal building; and there is space to hold police community safety classes for residents.
“There is no room for growth at our present location in the municipal building. We are out of space,” said Portier. “This building provides for growth.”