A new police station for St. Helens could cost millions.
Potential costs, funding sources, designs and sites for the new facility are part of the ongoing discussions underway at St. Helens City Hall.
City officials said the potential cost for a 22,000 square foot building is $8.8 million, which could be funded through bonds, existing cash, or other investments. But the officials said that cost would be based on location and design of the new police station.
The St. Helens City Council is reviewing a list of possible sites for the new facility to replace the aging police building at 150 S 13th St. in St. Helens.
City Finance Director Matt Brown presented the latest details of the city’s $48,000 feasibility study during a city council work session on Wednesday, June 19.
“Part of coming up with a design for a new police station is to find a new location for it,” Walsh said. “The first exercise is to work with the council to come up with the geography and pick an area to focus on.”
Once the council has decided on a general area, Brown said they can then narrow down the site list to specific locations.
During the work session, Brown said city staff had previously identified nine potential sites for a police station, each in five different areas of the city; north, south, east, west, central, and industrial.
Within those five areas, city staff had identified three potential sites for the central area, two for the north area, and one each for the remaining five areas.
Brown presented a map of the most common areas that police service calls come from, he said, which is another factor for councilors to consider when choosing the location of the new police station. Those sites were the Walmart area, Forest Park Apartments and the Motel 6.
Councilor Ginny Carlson said she thought it was important to keep the police station as close to the community as possible Carlson said she believes the current location has enabled police officers to develop a close connection with the surrounding community.
“I don’t want us to put too much thought into less-populated areas,” Carlson said.
St. Helens Police Chief Brian Greenway said he believes it is not super important that the new police station be placed in a densely populated area.
“We’re going to be ingrained with the community,” Greenway said. “We’re going to deploy our officers in different parts of the community.”
Some of the potential sites are not owned by the city, and issue the council will discuss at a later time, according to city officials.
The current police station, located at 150 S. 13th Street, is 2,200 square feet and was built in 1971.
“It’s extremely small and outdated,” Greenway told The Chronicle. “Most homes are bigger than that.”
Greenway said the police station needs more general office space, more meeting rooms, more space to store evidence, and more than the police department’s one interview room, which is currently also used for storage.
The facility also needs individual locker rooms for the male and female police force and a break room for employees.
Greenway said as the city grows, the police department must keep pace with that growth.
“We have to have the infrastructure to keep pace,” Greenway said.
Portland-based Mackenzie Engineering has been hired to conduct the study after city councilors approved a contract with the consulting firm on Mach 20 and the feasibility study on March 27.
The council has yet to make final decisions about the location, design and costs of the new police station.
Follow this developing story at the chronicleonline.com and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.