Albany Police Chief Mario Lattanzio told the city's public safety facilities review committee Tuesday that he'd prefer the police station be remodeled and expanded at its current location, 1117 Jackson St. S.E., rather move into a proposed new building on city-owned property on Pacific Boulevard Southwest.
The committee heard from Lattanzio and Capt. Jeff Hinrichs and listened to a presentation on the pros and cons of remodeling vs. moving, with the officers describing three potential options for staying put, which would keep the police station in an established locale right next to the Linn County Jail.
Option one involved acquiring an adjacent 0.45 acres, option two called for picking up 1.5 acres, and option three was buying 2.2 acres. Option three was the one the committee felt was most viable, and that would bring the total APD property to 3.89 acres.
That third option would leave the police station with 0.2 acres more than the available ground on Pacific, near its intersection with Willetta Street.
Factoring in the expense of acquiring six parcels of property, demolition and site development, the savings of remodeling, and the money generated by selling the site that doesn't get used for a police station, the estimated site cost of staying on Jackson Street is $2,601,900 vs. $1,639,720 to move to the site on Pacific.
Hinrichs said he had spoken to the five people who owned the six pieces of property the city would need to acquire to expand the police station from its current size of 10,500 square feet, and that all were willing to entertain offers to sell. Two of those owners live in homes on their properties; the other four are rental owners, and selling would displace 30 renters.
The panel likes the idea of staying on Jackson Street but acknowledged forcing renters to move was problematic.
"People would say you guys live in an ivory tower, you didn't really care about those people, and I don't know if we have an answer for that, but we should," panel member Mike Martin said.
Fellow committee member Skeet Arasmith noted that the city would have a moral obligation to help those residents find new places to live, and co-chairman Frank Morse pointed out that if any of those renters were in federally subsidized housing, there may also be legal requirements to provide new subsidized housing for them for a certain period of time.
The committee also talked about how it was beneficial having the Pacific property as a backup plan in the event that any snags derailed the possibility of expanding on the Jackson location.
The committee's next meeting is Wednesday, May 7, at 7 p.m. at Albany City Hall.
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