BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
In a study session before the July 1 GV city council meeting, Derek Holcomb, GV’s community development director, asked the city council to consider a plan to add $4.15 million to the city’s capital improvement program for 2021 and 2022 to build a second story to double the current space of the city’s police department (PD).
In addition to $13 million budgeted over several years to rebuild the city’s public works maintenance facility, now under construction, the GV capital improvement program budget includes $600,000 in 2019 and $1,750,000 in 2020 for improvements at city hall, including its parking lots.
Said Holcomb, “We don’t have enough space for the staff and the operations that we have within our PD. To meet PD’s needs, staff recommended that we look at going into a second story above the PD floor plate to expand their area by 50 per cent to give them the space that they need to do their jobs.” He acknowledged that the idea is very preliminary, saying that there are still “questions that have to be answered about feasibility,” including, “whether or not the existing facility can actually support going up without significant modifications to what we already have.” He said staff was seeking the go-ahead from city council for a structural engineer that has already been (tentatively) engaged to “put together a scope on what it would cost to evaluate the structural integrity of our existing building” and recommend “whether we can go up and what those hurdles might be to do that.”
Mayor Rakowsky spoke in favor of the plan, saying that although the police dispatch center was being upgraded this year, “a woefully overlooked area is basic daily operations, locker rooms and report writing space in PD. The last major city hall renovation was completed in 1997. Locker space is very inadequate in that basic required gear cannot all fit in the locker, many of which are smaller than high school lockers. Emergency response team duffel bags are scattered about. Boots find their home on top of lockers unconnected to the locker of their owner….Planning to bring our PD into the 21st century, and funding for it, needs to start now.”
City council member Anne Ingebretsen asked, “Are we going to be adding significant numbers of police officers to Greenwood Village?” John Jackson, city manager, responded, “I’d ask you to define significant.” He then refined his answer, saying no, and that adding additional officers “would be a city council decision.” Regarding the request for $4.15 million for PD, she said, “I haven’t heard anything… tonight that makes me go, wow, this is something we really need to do. …This is a surprise.”
Council member Dave Kerber brought up the cost of the new public works maintenance center, which public works director Jeremy Hanak confirmed carried a total price tag of $13 million. Kerber said, “Yeah, $13 million, and then we’ve got another $2 million for renovation of city hall. Now we’re going to add another $4 million…” He asked to take a tour of PD “so I could be comfortable that what we’re doing here won’t be perceived to be a waste of the taxpayers’ money on ourselves.”
Council member Steve Moran asked, “What’s the goals that we’re trying to achieve? What’s the problem we’re solving? Is it diversity of the police force? (Rakowsky noted the inadequacy of the women’s locker room). Is it better facilities? Is it safety in the workplace?”
Mayor Pro Tem George Lantz added, “Reiterate what the other people have said, but also, as was pointed out, we’re building the new maintenance facility and we’re moving the parks people over to a new facility, so we’re freeing up additional space. I want to make sure we’re taking good advantage of that space and using it productively.”
Council member Tom Dougherty synthesized the discussion and gave direction to city staff, saying “What we really need on all of these is much more of an analytical approach…We really need information about, what do we have right now, what is deficient about what we have right now, what problem are we trying to solve, how are we going to solve that, and how long will that solution last?”
Jackson said, “We were asked to look into this. This is in no way asking approval. We’re trying to just say what we’re being asked to look at toward designing into the future and planning into the future. You will get so much more details….you will be so much more involved in this as it develops that it’s where we would have to start.”
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