The Lawrence Common Council met Feb. 5 and approved construction of a new police station for the city at 5150 N. Post Rd.
The abandoned and dilapidated Snafu Saloon occupies the 4-acre space. The parcel was chosen because it is less than 1 mile from 42nd Street and Post Road, where the highest level of 911 calls originate.
The council approved the resolution, with seven votes in favor, Rick Wells voting against and Joe Williams voting for an extension. Council President Lisa Chavis said some of the concerns of the council included the location with its proximity to train tracks and the cost of the building, which is approximately $12 million.
“I think we do need a police station in the City of Lawrence. The current location is not suitable for our men and women who serve this city,” Chavis said. “I think it will be good for not only the men and women who serve but also the City of Lawrence at-large and spur some economic development in that area where the police station will be located.”
The current police headquarters is inside the city’s government center at 9001 E. 59th St., where it has been since 2009 after the former police headquarters flooded.
The initial proposal by the Lawrence Police Dept. and Mayor Steve Collier was made in early November 2017 and also will be home to a 911 communications and dispatch center for Marion County.
The proposed station is 37,000 square feet. The Snafu Saloon will be demolished, with the new police station built in its place. It will include a sally port, a 2,000-square-foot detached police vehicle maintenance garage, 150 parking spaces, with 50 designated for public parking, a 125-community training room and an exterior running track.
Chavis voted for the proposal but she said she hopes the project doesn’t cost more than proposed.
“I’d like to see them really make every effort to not have the project come in any higher than what has been proposed, but I’d also like to see if there’s an opportunity to get that number lower,” Chavis said.
Chavis also said she’d like to see no tax increase. Another concern raised at the meeting was the location’s proximity to the railroad tracks.
“The administration and police chief believe this will be a safe location, and ultimately they are the ones responsible for the wellbeing and safety of our police force, so I am supporting their decision,” she said.