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Possible police dept. site revealed
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If a new McMinnville Police Department is built, the location could be a stone’s throw away from where the department previously called home.
Currently, the department is located in Red Road Business Park, commonly called the old A.O. Smith building. The property owners are Rickey Minton, David Hill and Alderman Billy Wood.
Since the announcement was made last week that a site may have been found to build a new police station, one question has been repeatedly asked, according to city administrator David Rutherford.
“People want to know where,” Rutherford said. “That’s all I’ve heard since we talked about it. There has been no decision made as to the particular location, because you get to make that decision,” he said to aldermen. “We do have one location that would probably garner a lot of support. That is the property on Colville Street right behind the Blue Building.”
Alderman Everett Brock, who owns property in the area, says there are caves under ground which might not make it suitable for building a large structure.
“There would have to be some work done to test the soil to see if it can hold a structure,” said Rutherford. “If that doesn’t prove to be sufficient, then we will have to look for another piece of property. The city owns a couple pieces of property.”
Initial estimates on a new facility put the cost at $1 million. The cost was calculated at $100 a square foot for 8,500 square feet for brick and mortar, and an additional $150,000 for architect, engineering fees, etc.
Rutherford says he presented the land as a possibility because he has heard the same sort of complaint over and over since moving the police department out of the downtown area — that the department really needs to be downtown.
Officials could also consider renovating an existing building downtown rather than building a new one.
“We can do whatever you guys decide you want to do,” said Rutherford. “Do you really want to renovate when the cost will exceed what will be spent on building a new facility?”
In choosing a property, either existing or new, parking should be considered, Rutherford said. The property would have to offer enough parking for police vehicles, as well as parking for individuals attending city court.
Sometimes, court has 75 people on the docket and each of those usually drive separate vehicles, says McMinnville Police Department Chief Charlie Sewell.
“There is plenty of parking downtown,” said Vice Mayor Everett Brock. “It wouldn’t bother me to come downtown because that is just more people downtown.”
No decision was made. Officials will continue to discuss the option of moving the facility and where, with a decision possible next month.