Archive for Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tonganoxie City Council hears preferences for new police station

July 16, 2015

As the Tonganoxie City Council decides how to proceed with a new police station, citizens — and police officers — weighed in on their preferences.

The council had a public forum Monday in council chambers with about 25 attending.

Chief Jeff Brandau and a handful of officers talked about their preferences.

They said a new structure would be ideal, but the idea of repurposing the Cornerstone Family Worship at Sixth and Church streets made the most sense. It would be less expensive and could be done earlier.

Estimates given at Monday’s meeting were the middle of 2016 for the church to be repurposed and ready to go, while a new building could be finished as early as late 2016.

The church is 6,000 square feet and has a lower level where a Sally port could be built. Cornerstone Family Worship is in the process of constructing a new church along the curve on U.S. Highway 24-40. The congregation also currently has its services at the Tonganoxie Performing Arts Center on the Tonganoxie High School east campus.

Officers told of several concerns at the current station across from city council chambers near Fourth and Delaware streets. The department’s office is in a former bank building that now is shared by a handful of businesses and organizations, including the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission. Calvin Quisenberry owns the buildling.

Officers told of birds getting into the current station and dropping feces. Officers don’t park in the building’s parking lot because of potholes. They also said the area is not well-lit for evening duty at the station.

One officer injured his rotator cuff because of falling in the parking lot during the icy weather.

Council Member Curtis Oroke said a list needed to be made to take to Quisenberry about the building. Brandau said dialogue already had started about the issues.

Neighbors of Cornerstone Family Worship were on hand as well with concerns, including traffic.

Brandau said traffic would be lighter with the station there because officers generally are out patrolling when a call would come. And if officers are called out from the station, they would be a block from U.S. Highway 24-40, so there is quick access there.

Asked whether Brandau planned to change the appearance of the building so that it didn’t look so much like a church, Brandau joked that he wanted it to resemble a church so criminals would come with their confessions.

The council will continue to evaluate how to move forward in the coming weeks. The governing body is working on its 2016 budget and how to fund the project will play into that discussion.

City officials say that many of the city’s debts would be paid off in the next couple years, which is encouraging, they said.


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