(Chief Shawn Heubusch explaining safety and security issues with the current building)
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch along with Assistant Chief Robb Yaeger and City Manager Jason Molino made a legitimate case for a better working and functioning police headquarters building during a two hour tour of Batavia Police Headquarters at 10 W. Main St. today.
Chief Heubusch says there are major safety concerns daily.
A comingled entrance at the back of the building is a big issue.
Suspects, police and the general public all come and go in that one entrance at the rear of the building.
Assistant Chief Yaeger says there have been incidents where suspects have not been cooperative when being brought into headquarters in handcuffs. Getting an uncooperative suspect up the stairs can be difficult for officers.
Also the public waiting area is located in the same entryway where suspects are brought in.
Security is also an issue.
The City Youth Officer's office is located in the same area where adult suspects and criminals are brought in for questioning. This area does not comply with NYS law that says the two areas must be separate.
The parking area for police vehicles is also not secure. A secure, fenced-in parking lot is needed.
"The most important thing is safety and security, not only for the officers but the community," Heubusch says. "We have to be able to provide safety and security for the community. If we can't provide it for ourselves, it is difficult to provide it for the public."
(City Manager Jason Molino discusses the older model boiler that heats the building)
City Manager Jason Molino says the discussion about improvements and or a new police headquarters is 25 years overdue.
Improvements have been discussed at length, but no action has been taken.
In the meantime, the 150-year-old building, originally the Brisbane Mansion, is in need of repairs.
Crumbling cement, leaking bricks, rotting wood, leaking ceilings and a whole basement that cannot be used due to asbestos contamination are emergency issues that cannot be ignored any longer.
(Rotting wood below windows on the west side of the building)
(Water damage to drop ceiling in basement)
(What is left of a ceiling in the basement area when the building was used as a home, between 1855 and 1917)
According Molino, consultants who have been working on the project for the last 10 months have come up with four alternate locations for police headquarters and two renovation schemes for the existing building.
Site 1 is listed as 56 Ellicott St. and is located at the former Santy's Tires shop. It will cost between $11.1 - 11.9 million to construct.
Site 2 is listed as 96 Jackson St., which is currently the location of the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Cost is between $11.6-12.5 million.
Site 3 is located at 26 Evans St. and is located next to the Falletti Ice Arena. It would include the current ice rink parking area. Cost at this site is between $11.4-12.3 million.
Site 4 is located at 165 Park Road and is located next to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Cost to build at this site is between $9.9-10.6 million.
Renovation scheme A for 10 W. Main St. will cost between $15.9-17.2 million and includes the demolition of an area of the building built in 1963.
Renovation scheme B for 10 W. Main St. will cost between $11.3-12.2 million and does not include the demolition of the area of the building from 1963.
Site options 1-4 also include improvements to the current building for resale.
The project will be paid for by reserve funds, bonding and grants, Molino says.
A Citizen Task Force Advisory Board made up of citizens, business owners, education and health care leaders will be created next.
City council will meet Oct. 14 and decide if it wants to move forward with the task force and, if so, appoint one in November.
Molino says he expects a task force recommendation by July of 2015. Construction could possibly begin in 2016 or 2017.