By Chris Bavender
The rapid growth of Whitestown has the police department bursting at the seams.
The department is working out of four offices in the Municipal Complex. More room is needed for everything from an armory to a computer forensic lab as well as a place to train officers.
“The department currently does not have ample room to host or conduct department-wide training and must go off-site most of the time,” Whitestown Police Chief Dennis Anderson said. “The town court currently utilizes the only conference room within the Municipal Complex. Coordinating dates for the many boards, commissions and committees that meet monthly has become very difficult.”
If all goes as planned and financing steps are completed by the end of September, the department will break ground on a new building in late fall. An estimated completion date is spring 2020.
The estimated cost for the project is $3 to $3.5 million for a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot, two-story building. Funding will be via tax increment financing-backed bonding. Residents will not see a tax increase to pay for the project, according to town officials.
“The decision to wait until now on the infrastructure was a wise move on the part of our elected council,” Anderson said. “Utilizing the town’s growth and established TIF districts is a great way to pay for major projects.”
The new police station will be constructed with a finished interior on the first floor. The second floor will be built out as needed.
“It’s possible the second story will not be finished at this time. The total build-out cost will be the deciding factor,” Anderson said. “This approach allows for future growth of the agency to suit the needs.”
Anderson said the police department isn’t the only town division hurting for space. Moving to a new building will help other agencies move into the existing facility.
“The freeing up of the current police department wing will allow for the Clerks Office, Planning Dept., Building Inspection Division and our Parks Dept. to expand their respective operations,” Anderson said.