Huge Brooklyn Park Police Headquarters Expansion
By Andrew Richter
Another bill for the taxpayers;
Brooklyn Park is moving forward with plans for a $9.1 million renovation and expansion of its police headquarters next to city hall on 85th Avenue. The proposed project would add approximately 25,000 square feet to the existing structure, for a total of about 65,000 square feet. It would include more room for evidence, investigations and administration, as well as a 20,000-square-foot heated garage for patrol and SWAT vehicles.
Police say the garage will protect vehicles with sensitive equipment and reduce the need for idling patrol vehicles, saving an estimated $20,000 a year in fuel. Other improvements would increase efficiency and provide much-needed storage space.
Planning for the project began in 2006, with construction scheduled for 2010, but the project was delayed “as other needs within the police department came to the forefront,” according to a city staff memo. The expansion is intended to meet the police department’s needs as the city grows to its fully-developed size of approximately 85,000 residents in the next 15-20 years.
Top priorities for the project include heated garage space, more storage space for evidence, improved safety in the detention area and updated locker and fitness facilities. The department also seeks to provide adequate file storage and general storage, to reorganize staff areas for more efficient operations and to improve the efficiency of mechanical and electrical systems.
An expansion cost of $8 million was already included in the city’s capital improvements plan. The city expects pay for the project by issuing bonds, which it would pay off over a 20-year period at an anticipated average interest rate of 2.95 percent. Bonds would likely be sold starting early next year, and would cost the city about $600,000 annually in debt payments.
Property taxpayers would begin paying a debt levy for the building in 2016. Owners of a median-value home could expect to pay about $16 a year. In 2014, a median-value home could cost $155,200.
Just another thing to add……
The city had asked Wold Architects and Engineers to provide cost estimates for doing the project all at once and in phases. “There would be, certainly, some savings if the project was done all at once versus parceling it out into two or three different projects,” Wold representative John McNamara told the council at its Aug. 19 meeting. McNamara presented two scenarios to reduce initial costs. The first would meet all the “priority one and two” objectives, but would leave some “priority three” goals for later. This plan would cost $7.5 million up front with a need for a $1.9 million investment later, putting the total cost at $9.4 million.
The second cost-saving strategy would address only the priority one objectives. It would cost $5 million initially but would require another $5 million to finish the project later, for a total cost of $10 million.
“Investing now saves us later,” Mayor Jeffrey Lunde said in summary.
Yeah right! When does government spending ever go down? Where are the savings? And if there are saving I’m sure you’ll just spend it anyway!
The city council voted unanimously to approve a design contract with Wold for $525,000 (included in the cost estimates). Councilmember John Jordan was absent. Wold will design the full-scale project, but the council could choose to scale back the project in January when the council authorizes the bidding process.
Construction is planned for spring 2014 and would take about a year.