Garner Cleveland Record

Police station alters priorities

Once the front of a medical office building, this side of the eventual Garner police station will be an officer entrance with secure parking. The public entrence will be on the other side, facing the library.
Once the front of a medical office building, this side of the eventual Garner police station will be an officer entrance with secure parking. The public entrence will be on the other side, facing the library. kjahner@newsobserver.com

Town council members agreed Tuesday night to bring back some features of the new police station which had been eliminated from the plan to keep the project under budget.

Among the items to be added back in are exercise equipment and exterior lighting that would illuminate a mural in front of the property.

Gra Singleton provided the lone vote against the measure, preferring instead to try to save some money and hopefully shift a portion of the project that had been assigned to the capital improvement fund back into the $4.5 million budget for the station.

The vote of approval will allow town staff to change the work order. The new items will be paid for in the budget by using composite tiles on the floor rather than epoxy flooring, and by cutting out the certified wood doors (doors verified to meet environment/ecoloogical standards).

The now-funded elements consist of: tile on the walls in the restrooms ($13,000), exterior lighting of the front wall ($9,000) and exercise equipment for a fitness room accessible by all town employees ($20,000). They had been part of the original design but were cut to fit the budget.

The moves would keep the project $30,000 under budget. The budget also includes a $170,000 contingency reserve available in case of overruns, according to town engineer Tony Chalk, leaving $200,000 in wiggle room.

The exterior lighting in particular drew Singleton’s ire. Police Chief Brandon Zuidema said he had been discussing the idea of a mural with local artist Vincent Wood in front of the retaining wall facing Seventh Avenue. He said that if lit 24 hours a day the mural would clearly mark the facility to traffic.

“My vision is (of) this as the introduction to the town hall complex. And although we are going to have an amazing looking front door, you are not going to be able to see that right away,” Zuidema said.

The front door and public entrance will face east toward the library. The current front of the now-gutted building will be an entrance for police only, adjascent to secured police-only parking.

Saving bond dollars

Singleton remarked that the sun would provide 14 hours of daylight. He said he’d rather save the bond money assigned to the project so a $75,000 line item for covered parking could be returned to the project’s budget. That part of the project is still in the plan, but town officials agreed to pay for it out of the town’s regular budget instead of using bond funds. Singleton also said he’d rather spend the $9,000 improving other aging signs labeling town facilities instead of lighting a mural.

“If you cut some more of this, you can do it,” Singleton said. “I’m just trying to find a way to save $75,000.”

Zuidema noted that he had determined some of the items were a bigger priority than the car cover, implying that he did not favor bumping any of the items to accommodate the car cover. He also said the element had been moved to capital improvements because it did not have to be done at the same time as the station construction. It can be built later.

Ken Marshburn spoke to “respectfully disagree” with Singleton on Zuidema’s lighting concept.

“I like the aesthetics. (The cost) is not that much to put something there that reflects well on our town,” Marshburn said.

Zuidema promoted the weight training equipment benefits as muliti-faceted. Officers could have a place to work out to meet physical training requirements, safely store their gun and still easily deploy in the event of an emergency. Also, other town employees would have access to the free weights, lifting machines and cardio equipment, which would help the town with health initiatives.

Regarding the tile, Zuidema said that restrooms in the current town hall which have tile are easier to clean, more resistant to water damage and more durable than, for example, the restrooms in the police department’s Main Street office.

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