They spoke during Wednesday’s workshop at City Hall.
Frederick, Md (KM) Although no final decision was made, a majority of the Frederick Board of Aldermen on Wednesday preferred a site along New Design Road and Stadium Drive as a location for a new Police Department headquarters. “I am in support of moving forward with that new police headquarters on New Design Road, with the caveat that we need to find ways to reduce cost even below the conceptual estimates here, maintaining the ability to expand,” said Alderman Ben MacShane.
He was joined by Aldermen Roger Wilson. “I think balancing fiscal responsibility with meeting our needs of our police headquarters is the approach we need to take,” he said.
Those comments came during a workshop on Wednesday at City Hall. The Mayor and the Aldermen were listening to a presentation on the feasibility of locating the police headquarters on New Design Road at Stadium Drive, the site of the former Trinity School. The support by the Aldermen for this site is for a new structure, not using the former school building as a police headquarters.
Right now, the Frederick Police Department is housed in a section of the County Court House in downtown Frederick, and conditions are rather cramped, according to Chief Hargis.
Another site being considered is along East and 5th Streets in the city. That received the support of Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak. “It’s less expensive. The fact that it has the ability to get to both to the north side of the city, the south side of the city. You can get to the west side of the city,” she said.
That site also has the support of Alderwoman Kelly Russell. “To me, that location would serve as a close-to-downtown location, as a catalyst for that side of town. It’s part of the East Street Small Area Plan,” she says. “That’s an area that’s starting to grow, and that could be a catalyst.” Russell says the New Design Road site is remote, and a good location for a State Police highway barrack.
A third site is along Monocacy Boulevard near Frederick Municipal Airport. If that site was chosen, Police Chief Ed Hargis said any building would have to satisfy height restrictions imposed by the FAA.
Alderman Derek Schackelford says he prefers the New Design Road site because the other sites come with a lot of unanswered questions. “In these scenarios there are a lot of ‘ifs,'” he says. “I don’t think we can deal with ‘ifs’ right now. Because those ‘ifs’ have to come fruition. And ‘ifs’ have to become ‘yes,’ not ‘maybes’ and ‘possibles.’ And right now, there are ‘maybes’ and ‘possibles.'”
Mayor Michael O’Connor said the city staff will be researching answers of a lot questions raised by the Aldermen during Wednesday’s workshop.
No matter what site is chosen, Chief Hargis says it will take a little over two years for the project to be completed. “Based on some other projects, if the procurement process for architects, engineers and construction work, everything lined up perfectly, we’re looking at 12-months for design, and 18-months of that for construction,” he says.
By Kevin McManus