Funding is coming in and the search is on for a site to build the new Santa Barbara Police Station. Plans over the years to replace the aging building on East Figueroa Street have fallen apart. The department moved in back in 1959. The staff was more than half the size it has today. Other plans failed in part due to the lack of local funds and the end of the State Redevelopment Money which assisted cities with many projects that helped with business development, public safety and to help blighted areas become economically positive again. Now there is a new tax coming in the city says it going to be used for improvements from streets and sidewalks to new buildings, including a police station. Architect Brian Cearnel is on the team to help locate at least a half a block in size, that can become the new police command center. He says it has to be out of the flood zone and preferably in downtown. “Where they are it is bad shape they desperately need a new facilities,” said Cearnel. The top staff and officers at the police department have been interviewed about what they would like to see in the new building. “T he one thing I have been struck by in this whole process is how imminent this need is,” said Cearnel. “The police department has needed this for a long long time.” For example, the station has inadequate bathrooms, meeting space, interview rooms, and the dispatch center in the basement was so “at risk” from being crushed in an earthquake, it was moved four years ago to the more secure Granada Garage building in an urgent action. That cost taxpayers over $2-million. Many officers are unable to park on the property and only in recent years security gates were installed. Cearnel sees this as an exciting time for the department, especially the new officers who will be able to experience the latest designs and technology in law enforcement buildings. Currently there are four possible locations for the new station and all are city owned sites. Other suggestions are still welcomed according to project manager Brian Hess. The four sites are: – the current police headquarters on East Figueroa – the commuter lot on Castillo Street. – the Commuter lot on Cota Street – the “L” shaped lot on De la Vina and Victoria streets where the Louise Lowry Davis building and lawn bowling are located Designing the site comes at a time when building costs are going up. Currently the budget is $80-million. A new site could be chosen and announced by January and then start into the review system. For now Principal Project Manager Brad Hess says all possible locations known and unknown up to this point will be on the table. “Property owners who would like to discuss the possibility of their property being the location of the new Police Station are asked to contact the Project Manager,” he said in a statement. For more information or to suggest a site contact the project team at: BHess@SantaBarbaraCA.gov
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