The Petersburg City Council chose a new home for the Police Department from six different sites Tuesday, Sept. 4.
The land that has been selected sits on the west side of the fire station and has been evaluated by the City's architect Wayne Jensen of Jensen, Yorba and Lott, Inc.
“The City Manager, Stephen Giesbrecht, and I looked at several other sites beyond these six,” Petersburg Police Chief Jim Agner said. “We literally drove around town trying to 'think outside the box' and keeping an open mind about what would work.”
After looking at several sites Agner, Giesbrecht and Jensen sat down and chose these six finalists.
“The single biggest issue with site three is that it meets most of the criteria that the police department needs, including that the City already owns that property,” Agner said. “It is already zoned so that a City building would be one of its primary uses.”
The six sites included a tract next to and behind the fire hall, one adjacent to the post office across the street, the new parking lot of the municipal building and the site of an old fuel tank farm on S. Nordic Drive.
Petersburg Mayor Al Dwyer suggested the shared use of the fire hall training room as a way to save money for the project.
“The fire station has a modern state-of-the-art training room in the facility,” Dwyer said. “Hopefully the police department would be able to use it whenever the fire department isn't for training purposes.”
Agner was on board with sharing the facility if it would be cost effective.
“Whether site three is what you decide tonight, or any of the other sites, we would hope to minimize costs and work effectively,” Agner stated. “Whatever it ends up being, the goal is to work as efficiently as possible for the people of Petersburg.”
Jensen explained that the City could save some money on construction if the police department shared the training room with the fire department but he could not estimate how much this early in the process.
“One of the first things we will do after the site selection is work with the building committee reviewing the programs.” Jensen said. “That is when we would take a look at things that can be saved by utilizing some space in the fire department building and the training facility is one of the most obvious places that we could share some space.”
According to Jensen, the key is if it serves the purpose of the fire department and the police department and whether it is appropriately located for both facilities. “But these are more functional issues that the building committee will deal with.” he stated.
Jensen also explained that site three is the one that had been considered when the City had planned to build a public safety building.
“The public safety building didn't materialize as we had planned,” Jensen stated. “But now we can have a public safety complex as two separate facilities that are co-located on a similar site. That has been the intent for the last 10 years or so.”
The City Council unanimously voted to choose site three to the west of the fire hall and to create a building design committee made up of the police chief, the fire and EMS director, Sandy Dixson as well as additional members to be appointed by the Council.