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Paving underway for portion of new police station parking lot adjacent Washington Avenue businesses

By Howard B. Owens
police station parking
Photo by Howard Owens

Asphalt was laid today along the north side of the Alva Place parcel, where a new police station is under construction.

After learning in April that contractors planned to close off the entire parking lot during the construction of the police station, neighboring business owners, many of them with medical offices, complained about losing easy access to handicapped parking. The city worked with the project manager and devised a plan to reconstruct a portion of the parking lot quickly so it could be returned to service for those businesses and their clients.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski said she expects spaces to be striped next week, and the lot will open soon after that is completed.

Previously: City issues two-phase parking plan for new police station construction staging area

Phase II parking plan for downtown
Batavia-supplied illustration showing the area being repaved so it can reopen for use by local businesses.

Construction of new police station celebrated as 'state-of-the-art' and ready to better serve community

By Howard B. Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
City Council President Eugene Jankowski, Brian S. Murray, NYS director of the USDA, former Rep. Chris Jacobs, Rep. Claudia Tenney, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, City Manager Rachael Tabelski, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, Matt Wojtaszczyk, a detective and president of the Batavia Police Benevolent Society.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Construction may have begun six weeks ago, but the "groundbreaking" -- a dignitary-studded event on Alva Place -- on a new home for the Batavia Police Department was held late Friday morning under clear blue skies.

The new police headquarters on Bank Street will be 20,000 square feet and cost more than $15 million. According to officials, the facility will be "state-of-the-art," compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and provide all the features necessary for a 21st-century police state.

It replaces a 167-year-old building, the Brisbane Mansion, once the home of one of Batavia's most historically important wealthiest families, then City Hall, then the police station.

Police say it is dilapidated, outdated, and totally inadequate to handle the demands of modern policing.

batavia PD police station groundbreaking
"For years, we have known that our current police station, which is housed in a 19th-century residential mansion, is an inadequate home for our police officers. However you slice it, the current facility does not meet the needs of a 21st-century law enforcement operation. Today, under City Council leadership, we're doing something about it. It has taken many years of planning and due diligence to get us here today. But we stand on this site breaking ground on the new facility. The city of Batavia police force will have a new modern police station, and residents will have an ADA-compliant building where they can seek services." -- Rachael Tabelski city manager.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
"I, too, want to acknowledge the city's workforce and the various department heads, not only for your hard work but for making today's groundbreaking a reality, for everything you do on a daily basis to provide services to the citizens and businesses of Batavia. In particular, I want to acknowledge the leadership of our city manager, Rachael  Tabelski.This project has presented some difficult challenges. But Rachael and her team have once again demonstrated their excellent management and leadership skills as they keep this transformative project moving forward. " -- City Council President Eugene Jankowski.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
"This is a big day and a great day for Genesee County and particularly the city of Batavia; you're finally going to have a well-running state-of-the-art facility where you can all actually go and work and not feel like you might have your roof caving in on you." -- Rep. Claudia Tenney.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
"We recognize the vital role that our law enforcement officers play in keeping our community safe. Whether it be new and updated equipment, vehicles, or a new facility that is being built right behind us -- or right in front of you -- our police deserve the best of the best. This is a much-needed upgrade for the Batavia Police Department, and I'm excited to see the progress on this new state-of-the-art facility." --Assemblyman Steve Hawley.
Photo by Howard Owens
"I understand that the current police station is located just around the corner from here at the Brisbane Mansion. It's about 170 years old. Well, that building has served its purpose over time. This new facility is going to provide needed security technologies and meeting and administrative space for not only the community but also the officers and the staff; the police department here in Batavia can enjoy. Speaking to you as a father, both of my sons are in law enforcement. I know personally what this facility means not only to the community but those individuals who work here. But it also means a lot to the families of these men and ladies in blue because, literally, these people in blue put their lives on the line every single day. " -- Brian S. Murray, NYS director, USDA.
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
"I felt in my brief time in service in the Congress, we felt that Batavia -- so strongly -- that Batavia is so poised for a true renaissance and rebound and that we wanted to do everything we could to play a role in helping in that regard.  We were thrilled because, first and foremost, this is going to be for law enforcement and to keep our citizens safe, but it's also the piece of the puzzle of what you're doing here in downtown Batavia." -- former Rep. Chris Jacobs.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
"I don't want to belabor it -- why (the Brisbane Mansion) is no longer functionally serves as a police station. We all know it's a very old and antiquated structure. We also know that policing today has changed dramatically, and the building no longer serves a purpose as far as public health and safety is concerned. We believe that a police facility should be a welcoming place for the community. The police station is the second most frequented city building aside from City Hall. People come and go all day long to retrieve reports, file complaints and seek guidance or advice from our staff. The way the new police facility is being constructed will allow it to function as a place where the community can gather and where the members of the department can do their work and protect to serve our community." -- Chief Shawn Heubusch.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
"Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of law enforcement in Batavia. The groundbreaking for a new police station symbolizes our commitment to creating a safe and secure environment for all." -- Matt Wojtaszczyk, a detective and president of the Batavia Police Benevolent Society.
Photo by Howard Owens


batavia PD police station groundbreaking
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia PD police station groundbreaking
Photo by Howard Owens

Advanced Podiatry announces plans to relocate for two years in response to police station construction, parking lot closure

By Press Release
canzonari office
Photo by Howard Owens.

Press release:

Advanced Podiatry Associates PLLC  is making every effort to accommodate our patients during the construction of the city police station.  We Sincerely appreciate your loyalty and patience during this time.  Dr. Canzoneri is currently attempting to secure a new temporary location for his practice with plenty of handicap accessibility and ample parking for the next two years. We are doing everything we can to facilitate your continued trust and confidence in the care we provide.

Portion of Bank Street to be closed to traffic on Monday

By Press Release

Press release from the city of Batavia:

Please be advised that Bank Street from Alva Place to Washington Avenue will be closed on Monday, April 29, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. We recommend selecting an alternate route to minimize traffic congestion.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank the public for their patience and cooperation as we work to improve our community. 

Police station project manager explains need for space around construction site

By Howard B. Owens


A graphic released on April 11 by the City of Batavia showed what city officials believed at the time would be the available parking at Bank and Alva during the construction of the new police station.  Late last week, officials revealed that the entire parking lot north of Alva Place will be fenced off during construction.

The local press was not permitted in a meeting on Monday between business owners concerned about impacts on their shops during the construction of a new police station in Batavia, but afterward, the project manager spoke exclusively with The Batavian about what he tried to communicate during the discussion.

Ken Pearl explained the scope of construction, the need for the use of parking space next to the primary construction site, and the coordination and liability issues involved.

With five contractors involved -- there is no lead contractor -- there is a lot of complex work that needs to be coordinated with timelines that need to stay in sync.

The sudden dust-up over parking has contractors nervous about staying on schedule, Pearl indicated.

For this $15 million project, there is a general contract, a site contractor, an electrical contractor, a plumbing contractor, and a heating contractor. They’re all under separate contracts.

See also: Downtown business owners battle for their patients, city considers options

“Now that this has become an issue, I have to speak on behalf of this group because they're aggrieved now, too,” Pearl said. “They’re under contract that go under state and federal government rules. And they're like, ‘Wait a minute, nobody can agree to just be moving this fence around because there's insurance issues, liability, and all kinds of stuff. Plus, we need space to work.’”

In the meeting with business owners, Pearl said he tried to convey the message that “this is our world.” He tried to show them what the contractors are supposed to be doing and why.

“We’ve got to put that fence up all around the parking lot on the city's boundary, and then we will transfer all the liability to the contractors," Pearl said. “They're responsible for everything that happens here. They can't have people in here. They're not trained, they're not wearing safety gear. The first thing the contractor is going to do is come in with expensive equipment, like a Thruway project or something or a road project. They're gonna be grinding up all this asphalt because it's all getting refurbished and pulled up. And we got to access the sewers and infrastructure elements underneath.”

Pearl explained that the need for contractor space next to the job site involves much more than asking workers to walk an extra 40 feet, as some business owners seem to believe.

Once the asphalt is ripped out, a sewer line must be removed. It is buried 15 feet underground on the west end lot.

Then, all the footings for the walls need to be dug out. Digging out the footing space and foundation will create debris that must be moved into the west end of the lot where it can be sorted -- refill, recyclable, and waste. 

The stormwater draining system gets rebuilt.

A mesh of conduits and tubing needs to be installed with contractors needing easy access to supplies.

All-terrain vehicles with forklifts will need to move around the perimeter of the building in space that was seemingly designated as parking before city officials learned those renderings were wrong.

Scaffolding will be erected around the building and will intrude into that same "parking space."

While some workers can show up with their tools in their sedan, Pearl explained that the concrete guys can’t do that. They drive pickups with all their tools in compartments around the bed of a truck.  Concrete workers need to work fast. They have a limited time to complete tasks once the concrete is poured. 

“What they're doing is constantly going back and forth to their trucks,” Pearl said. “You'll actually see them moving their trucks because they're working fast. When heavy concrete comes in, there's a time limit on it for their working procedures. They're not going to allow us to tell them to park across the street. That's insane. From their perspective, they don't even want to park over here (he pointed to the site plan). They want to park here. And then two hours later, they're gonna be here, and three hours later, still here. They'll work not an eight-to-five. They'll stay if the poor require them to stay till 10 o'clock at night.”

Quality control testing needs to take place on the job site, which means equipment needs to be set up and stored close to the new construction.

“They can’t do that across the street because they gotta be where the thing is happening,” he said.

Each contractor needs a trailer for office space, so there are five trailers total, plus one each for state and federal inspectors.

Utilities need to be run to those trailers and the job site.

Moving all of that infrastructure to the other side of Alva would mean double installation of infrastructure.

“That's multiple of everything,” Pearl said. “So technically, my message was, we can do anything you want. But we're going to crucify the budgets."

Workers' safety is also at risk if they have to cross a public roadway from the job site to a staging area.

“If we're having people walking across the public street, we’re putting workers at risk,” Pearl said. “Guys get busy, tired, dirt in their eyes, they're sweaty, they might not be paying attention after the 100th time walking across the street.”

Pearl said the map showing swaths of parking around the construction site went out before it was shown to him. During the Monday meeting, he said Tabelski apologized for the miscommunication.

After Monday's council meeting, Council President Eugene Jankowski expressed frustration that some people seemingly can't accept that city management made an honest mistake.

He said that rather than castigating city employees, those affected should understand that a mistake was made and that the city is trying to rectify it.

“There were timelines that had to be met,” Jankowski said. “Rachael had an older drawing. It wasn't an updated drawing, and she thought she would be ahead of the game by getting it out to them.  When  Ken (Pearl) found out about it, he realized that she had sent out the wrong drawing. She apologized to everyone in the meeting earlier today (Monday), explaining that that was her mistake and that it wasn't intentional. However, I've seen affected business owners on Facebook saying the city lied and that the city purposely blindsided us. That's not true. It was an honest mistake. And we're doing our best to correct that.”

Jankowski suggested that small business owners might be more understanding of the fact that everybody is trying to do their best for the community.

“The part that really perplexes me is and it causes me severe disappointment, that we're trying to do something good for the community and our police department and our public safety, which is very valuable in this community. I really take public safety very seriously. And yet, we're meeting all this resistance over a few parking spaces we're trying to accommodate. But that doesn't seem to be good enough.”

Pearl noted that the public part of the police station construction story has always been that this was a three-phase project, with a new police station, new secure parking for the police, and rebuilt public parking.

People seem to have missed the “rebuilt public parking,” he suggested, because that means eliminating all of the existing parking lot.

“When you build a police station, you're talking about doing a 100-year building if you can pull it off,” Pearl said. “If I'm building a warehouse for my business, I might only care that it lasts 20 years. I’m going to invest low in it. A church might want the building to last 200 years. A car dealership, I'm gonna remodel it in five; I don't need certain standards the same all the time on a project. We spent a lot of time working out all this stuff. I think when this is all done for the public. They will get something that boosts that neighborhood. Because somebody's spending money on it, in my experience, that tends to give people comfort if they want to think about investing in something, new or remodeling something, because now somebody did it, values are going up a little bit. If nobody does it, nobody does it, you know.”

Placement of construction fence for new police station draws complaints

By Howard B. Owens
police station contruction
Photo by Howard Owens

On Monday morning, workers moved a construction fence off the sidewalk behind a group of office buildings on Washington Avenue, Batavia, that was erected late last week in preparation for the start of construction of the new Batavia police station.

Dr. Tom Mazurkiewicz said he and other businesses in the complex were upset with the placement of the fence and even just moving it off the sidewalk isn't good enough.

He claimed that city officials presented plans to the businesses showing the fence being placed in the parking lot, where space is striped for a second row of cars, keeping the first row open for business parking.

After the fence was erected, he said city officials told him OSHA requirements dictated the location of the fence and "the plan changed."

He doesn't believe there is an OSHA requirement for that particular placement of the fence.

"They're just lying about everything," Mazurkiewicz said. "It's a mess."

Brett J. Frank, the city's director of public works, declined this morning to comment on the situation, citing a meeting planned for Monday evening as the reason.

City officials will meet with representatives of the businesses, which are mostly medical offices, at 5:30 p.m. at the current Batavia police headquarters. Mazurkiewicz said the issue has also been added to the City Council agenda for Monday. That meeting starts at 7 p.m.

On Friday, City Manager Rachel Tabelski put out a statement addressing the parking issues:

“The City of Batavia Police Department will move from their 167-year-old converted mansion, known as the Historic Brisbane Mansion.  There have been no less than five studies conducted since 1991 to determine the future of the police station in Batavia, as well as a citizen task force commissioned to investigate possible site locations.  The location of the new facility was identified by the task force.

“Working with the construction team, the City will continue to provide the community and surrounding businesses, and their patrons with free parking with some restrictions in place.  The safety of the construction workers and those using the Alva lot is the highest priority.  At this time, the West Side of the Alva Parking Lot is available for medical/customer parking; the streets of Washington, State, Bank and Alva have free on-street parking as well.

“Patrons of Washington and State Street businesses without mobility issues are encouraged to park in the City Centre lot, leaving adjacent street parking for individuals who need access.  The City recognizes that parking will be inconvenient, but the goal is to minimize the impact on businesses and residents.  The City looks forward to project completion and appreciates everyone’s assistance and cooperation during the 18-month construction period.

The lack of parking is costing him business, Mazurkiewicz said.  He had seven clients cancel appointments on Thursday and Friday and two on Monday morning. 

He had one 90-year-old client try to walk from the open spaces behind Millenium Computer to his office, which is at least 150 yards across three grass outcroppings that disrupt the sidewalk.

He said city officials told him they would create three on-street handicap spaces, but Mazurkiewicz believes that many elderly patients either can't or won't parallel park if that's required to use those spaces.

"We need at least eight handicapped parking spaces," Mazurkiewicz said.

He said one customer told him, "I can walk 20 feet, but I can't walk 150 yards," and he added, "What about a mom with a baby in a car seat? That's 50 pounds. Is she going to carry it 150 yards?"

When asked what he expected in terms of parking availability once construction is finished, he said he didn't know. "They haven't told us," he said.

The city is building a $15 million, 21,000-square-foot facility at Alva Place and Bank Street. It is partially funded by a $2.5 million USDA grant and low-interest loan from the USDA.

Joanne Beck contributed to this story.

police station construction
One of three grass patches that disrupt the sidewalk along the Washington Office office complex.
Photo by Howard Owens.
police station contruction
A construction worker taps down asphalt in the parking lot of the construction site after digging a hole to inspect something under the asphalt.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Preparing to make old new again: reuse study of Brisbane Mansion suggests market rate units or boutique hotel

By Joanne Beck
Larissa Reynolds and Rick Hauser at City Council
Designer Larissa Reynolds and Consultant Rick Hauser of In Site Architecture of Perry present their reuse study of Brisbane Mansion during Monday's City Council meeting at City Hall. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

Given the ample time and 80-plus page report he had to work from, consultant Rick Hauser wasn’t short on words in a study on Brisbane Mansion. However, three words seemed to capture it best.

“It’s a gem,” he said Monday during a presentation to City Council.  “I love the history of this building, it’s a 107-year-old building. So for starters, that's impressive. 

“It’s at a key location in your community,” he said. “One thing’s clear is that Brisbane Mansion is not being put to its best use.”

Hauser, a partner of Inside Architecture in Perry who has conducted a reuse analysis on the Main Street structure, otherwise known as the current city police station, reviewed the site from top to bottom. 

After reviewing and calculating existing floor plans, construction cost estimates, various options, forensic building timelines, potential grant and other financial incentives, a zoning map, photographs, a condition assessment, and design challenge considerations, Hauser and fellow designer Larissa Reynolds presented what they believed were the two most viable options.

One option is to carve out 11 market-rate apartments, with four two-bedroom and seven one-bedroom units on the first and second floors. All of them would be light-filled with an open kitchen, dining and living concept, comfortably-sized bedrooms and ample closet space, and they strive to maintain existing partitions, opening and architectural features as much as possible, he said. 

Preserving the historic integrity of the building is key, he said, as it is currently a contributing member of the historic district and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Maintaining historic integrity will be a principal selling point, he said.

The business plan includes utilizing grant funding which means renovation plans will be scrutinized as to whether they have an adverse impact not he remaining historic fabric and defining architectural features such as existing facades, structural elements, circulation paths, interior spatial layouts and finishes. 

The second option would be a 16-room boutique hotel containing seven micro units, three deluxe units and six deluxe suites to accommodate different needs and budgets while remaining unique and welcoming. 

“When we're thinking about what we're proposing for this building, we're really thinking about what the building wants to be. Because a lot of things are all set, the location of the building, centrally located to everything basically in Batavia, there is no other kind of lodging or hotels in the city core,” Reynolds said. “The history of it, the quirkiness of it, those are the key ingredients that really make a really nice boutique hotel. A boutique hotel that’s really well managed by someone that's gonna love and showcase the history and the elements of it.”

The most challenging task for these options was to work within multiple “levels within levels” by various additions and renovations done to the building at varying stages and time periods.

Who’s going to want to come in and develop an old mansion-turned-police station? Any number of people, apparently. It’s a tempting opportunity, Hauser said, because of its age: the property qualifies for historic preservation tax credits, which can be very attractive to developers and help provide key capital up front, especially if syndicated, he said. 

New York State is also rich in funding sources, including grants such as Restore NY and Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds, he said. 

What would this all cost a prospective developer? An estimated $3.5 million to $4 million, he said, with revenue for high-end apartments reaping $164,000 a year. 

Councilman John Canale asked if any developers have expressed interest in the site at this point, and City Manager Rachael Tabelski said yes, that Batavia Development Corp. Director Tammy Hathaway has taken a few prospective developers on tours of the property.

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., a retired city police lieutenant, knows the building well and looks forward to its next life, he said.

“I love that old historic building. The public should be aware that we're definitely trying to repurpose it,” he said. “And at no time, we haven't even begun to discuss anything other than keeping the building there and repurposing it into something that is hopefully gonna get on the tax roll.”

The process will most likely involve a request for proposals once the city is ready to move forward, Tabelski said, and the police department has its new home at Alva Place and Bank Street.

New city police station on its way from virtual to actual reality

By Joanne Beck


A new city police station project has virtually gone high-tech.

Members of the police department were able to view the new station during the design phase with virtual reality equipment and provide feedback before the actual construction gets going, Chief Shawn Heubusch said.  

“When we completed the VR tour, we were able to ‘walk the halls' and see some of the details that we would have needed to wait to see until walls were built,” Heubusch told The Batavian. “This allowed us to really pick out if a window or door was in the proper place or if the adjacency of rooms was correct for everyday use. This will save time and money during the construction process as it will require less change orders further down the road.”

Being the second most publicly traveled city facility — with City Hall being first — it’s important to get the building and details right, he said, and should save money from the typical myriad change orders of large construction projects.


Project Manager Ken Pearl presented the designs and a timeline during this week’s City Council meeting. A 20,000 square-foot building will take up a front portion of the parking lot at Bank Street and Alva Place.

A total of construction, engineering, equipment and material costs is estimated to be from $13 million to $15 million, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said.

At least 115 public parking spots are to remain after construction, in addition to free public parking on surrounding streets, “which would more than adequately serve the needs of existing businesses on Washington, Alva and State Streets,” she said.

This has been a long time coming, given prior consultant studies, Task Force Committee meetings and discussions about how to proceed with the current station housed in a 167-year-old building. Known as the Historic Brisbane Mansion, the Main Street site has been deemed unsuitable for police operations, and renovations were ruled out as being too costly.

“There have been no less than five studies conducted since 1991 to determine the future of the police station in Batavia, as well as a citizen task force commissioned to investigate possible site locations,” Tabelski said.  “The location of the new facility was identified by the task force in their top three site recommendations.” 

The new facility will improve “the quality, efficiency, security, and regulatory compliance features of the services and activities of the department,” she said.  It will also enhance the opportunities to meet community-oriented policing needs, and become a space to conduct community events, including educational forums, police-assisted addiction recovery initiatives, explorer post, citizen academy, and focus groups.


“The new station and headquarters will be designed with accreditation standards in mind, including LEED and will be ADA compliant,” she said. “In short, the new station and headquarters will be a welcoming place for all persons in our community.” 

LEED is a third-party green building certification program, and these buildings are, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s website, proven to save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions and create healthier places for people.

Heubusch highlighted the fact that the Brisbane Mansion was to serve as a residence, and has been renovated throughout the years to fit the needs of city government.

“However, the current facility does not meet regulatory requirements as well as ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements for a modern facility, not to mention the regulations surrounding a police station. The new police station will be better in every way; it will meet the department's needs for proper workspaces; interview rooms; evidence storage; vehicle storage; victim and witness interview spaces; training spaces; a community room; proper lobby and records facilities; proper locker and shower facilities and secure parking for our staff and visitors,” Heubusch said. “In short, it will be a welcoming and professional, purposely built facility to meet the needs of the Department and community for the next 50 years or more.”

Tabelski further expanded on the current station’s misgivings: it was built in 1855 and retrofitted for purposes other than a residence since the city took on ownership in 1918. Continuing to renovate the station as a modernized version to include the various operational and legal requirements “is cost prohibitive,” she said.

City Council approved the new station in 2021 and approved Ashley McGraw Architects PDC of Syracuse in January 2022. Pearl said that final figures won’t be nailed down until the project goes out for bid and council awards contracts for the work.

Construction documents are to be finalized by February, with the project to go out for bid in March. Contractor bids are expected in April, and construction is to begin sometime between May and July, Tabelski said.

And now for the big question: how will this be paid for?
The new station would be financed by the city with a 30-year public improvement serial bond, Tabelski said.

“The City will pursue various state and federal grant opportunities in an effort to offset the cost,” she said.

For anyone wanting to view the renderings in person, they are available at City Hall, she said.


Top Photo of  the new city police station to be built at the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place in downtown Batavia; a view from the side of the building, in front at night and toward the rear next to a parking lot. Renderings by Ashley McGraw Architects courtesy of the City of Batavia. 

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