City’s choice: police, 911 under one roof
Grand Junction City Council members agree the best option for a public safety center is to combine a new police station and 911 emergency center under one roof. Included in that plan is the remodeling of the Grand Junction Fire Department’s Station No. 1, 330 S. Sixth St., and Station No. 2, 2827 Patterson Road.
Grand Junction City Council members directed staff Tuesday during a workshop to start work on fine-tuning that plan, an option that was labeled No. 7 of eight plans presented during an open house Monday night.
The plan calls for police and 911 emergency services to be under one roof on the lot at Fifth Street and Ute Avenue. Portions of the current Grand Junction Police Station, 625 Ute Ave., built before 1984 would be torn down. The remaining space would house Fire Department administration. The Fire Department next door would be remodeled to include more sleeping quarters upstairs and office space downstairs.
More sleeping quarters and another ambulance would be added to Station No. 2, the station that responds to the most calls.
A police annex will be at the city shops, off West Avenue.
The city Tuesday sold certificates of participation up to $32.7 million for construction and remodeling of the facilities. The city plans to pay $2.2 million a year for 30 years to pay back the certificate holders, with interest.
The majority of that payment, $1.7 million, will be funded by a portion of the city’s 2.75 percent sales tax. The remaining $500,000 a year will come from 911 fees.
Voters in 2008 denied passage of a tax increase to fund a more elaborate $98 million public safety complex.
Some residents during public listening tours hosted by the city indicated they wanted the city to act quickly to build a public safety center within budget, to include existing city buildings into the plan and to pay for it with existing funds.
Others question the city’s method of placing taxpayers into debt without taking it to a vote. “We’re going to be responsible for a long period of time for a lot of money, $2.2 million for 30 years,” resident Alan Salter said while perusing options during the Monday night meeting. “Is it that critical that they need to do this right now?”
City Council members are expected to officially approve the new public safety plan after city staff members iron out the details in coming months. Construction is expected to begin next spring with completion slated for 2012.
Shaw Construction is acting as construction manager and general contractor, and project architect is the Blythe Group. Both companies have offices in Grand Junction.