Park Ridge mayor vetoes Police Station project, suggests alternative
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:16AM
PARK RIDGE — Park Ridge Mayor David Schmidt has a proposal for providing the Police Department with additional space, but one that doesn’t involve paying for the construction of a new building.
Schmidt on Nov. 19 vetoed the City Council’s approval of a $290,170 contract with Des Plaines-based Workmasters to design and construct a 1,500-square-foot building for evidence storage on property at 229 Courtland Ave. that the city purchased for $662,000 in 2006.
The project, recommended by the Chief’s Advisory Task Force, also consists of demolishing the house on the property, creating a new parking lot and building an enclosed bike corral.
In his veto message Schmidt proposed that aldermen sustain his veto on Dec. 3 and consider selling the Courtland Avenue property and using proceeds from the sale to renovate the old Public Works Service Center at 1200 Elm St. to address the space needs of the Police Department.
“The beauty of this plan is that it will provide extra space for the department, much more than is provided in the Task Force recommendation, thereby alleviating overcrowding in the present facility,” Schmidt said. “It would return the Courtland Avenue property to the property-tax rolls and it would save the taxpayers over $1 million.”
The $1 million figure quoted by Schmidt refers to the total estimate of the three-year renovation project recommended by the Chief’s Advisory Task Force. In addition to the construction of the new storage building, the project also proposes mold remediation for the existing Police Station, the construction of a “sally port” to securely transport arrestees, reconfiguring existing space within the station to add more interview and work areas, and upgrades to the men’s and women’s locker rooms among other improvements.
Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski disagreed with Schmidt’s statement that the Task Force explored just one option for addressing police space needs and said he believes the recommended project is the best and most cost-effective plan.
“I think the Task Force really spent a lot of time looking at the alternatives other than building a new facility or buying new property,” Kaminski said.
The $1.1 million, three-year project recommended by Task Force addresses not only space, but security and health issues as well, the police chief said.
Kaminski also repeated that evidence storage should be as close to the Police Station as possible.
“The problem with totally off-site storage is that it makes it very inconvenient for us to use it,” he said.
Schmidt proposed that the Task Force discuss his idea for using the former Public Works Service Center. Kaminski said it will be up to the Task Force members to decide if that is something they want to do.
As for the Courtland Avenue property, there has been no recent appraisal conducted to determine it’s current value, said City Manager Shawn Hamilton. The city in 2010 had discussed the possibility of redeveloping the 1200 Elm St. property, but ultimately nothing was pursued.