New Police Station
STAFF REPORTS – Michigan City News Dispatch – Feb 9, 2012
City’s plan for new police station shows good judgment.
The city’s approach to obtaining property to build a new Michigan City police station shows Mayor Ron Meer’s administration is taking a measured and calculated approach to the project.
The city is pursuing a site where the city already owns the majority of the acreage and cooperatively working with Michigan City Area Schools to obtain what the city doesn’t own, the old Eastport School building and parking lot.
And Mayor Ron Meer is watching costs, saying he wants to keep the building in the $9 million to $12 million range, and may look into expanding the city’s redevelopment zone to the area, in order to make that more feasible by getting some help with redevelopment funding.
By placing the new police station on the former school site, the city is also investing in the surrounding neighborhood and providing an additional “safety zone” for families in the area.
Meer is also keeping in mind the police department’s “wants and needs” when looking at the new facility, saying some “wants” may not be feasible, but the “needs” will be.
When you ask Police Chief Mark Swistek about what the department needs, nearly everything he mentioned were related to departmental efficiency and safety and making the station as user-friendly and community-accessible as possible.
Swistek wants better access for transport vehicles to transfer those who have been arrested in and out of the station. He needs a more modern and updated holding facility that meets current standards for prisoners. He would like more work space for officers, detectives and the animal control officer. And he would like to have more room to store equipment and more space for evidence storage.
The community is also a part of this plan. Swistek would like to have a small community room for the public and a lobby for the station that is more user-friendly for the public.
One of our favorite parts is Swistek’s hope that the open space near the school can be preserved for kids to play soccer or sled in the winter. And the playground equipment might stay so that kids could continue to use it as a playground near the police station.
We agree that there probably would be no safer place in the city to let your kids play than next to the police station.
All these ideas show a city administration that is thinking about the needs of the police department and the public at the same time.