St. Petersburg took another step Monday night to building a new St. Petersburg Police Headquarters and renovating/replacing the existing blighted police station located at 1300 1st Ave. N.
City Council voted 6-1 Monday, approving a resolution to negotiate an architectural/engineering agreement with Harvard Jolly for the new police department headquarters. Council member Wengay Newton voted no and council member Bill Dudley was not present.
Funding for the police station is coming from the Penny for Pinellas tax. That tax is why the city has moved the $60 million project from one to two phases due to lower than expected revenues.
The first phase is for $40 million and would construct a new building on First Avenue North, between the railroad and 13th Street, and partially renovate the existing police station on the south side of First Avenue North.
A second, $20 million phase would only be completed if the Penny for Pinellas tax were passed before the current 10-year tax expires in 2020.
According to Mike Connors, St. Petersburg's public works administrator, the renovations to the existing building will be selective based on recommendations for a consultant.
Connors said a key for this consultant would be, "how to avoid triggering, building permits that require code compliance in the existing east and west buildings," he said. "(We) have to be very careful and strategic in how we build for new and allow existing operations to expand into vacated portion of east or west buildings."
On an April tour of the police station, Michael McDonald, Assistant Director the police, said it could take millions just to bring the police station up to code.
"If we invested the $7 million to $10 million (for maintenance costs) ... and tried to renovate the buildings, all you would be doing is trying to bring them up to current code standards," McDonald said. "You wouldn’t be making any enhancements to the operational capability."
Proposed Police Station Project Timeline
- January 2013, approve contract agreement
- Spring 2013, focus on final master planning effort
- Summer 2013, schematic design, rudimentary detail, locations of the building footprints, (public input)
- Fall 2013, present to council design development documents, renderings, detailed drawings, plans and specs (public input)
- Spring 2014, advertise construction bids
- Summer 2014, notice to proceed construction
- Fall 2015, complete construction
Mayor Bill Foster said Monday that a new police station is priority No. 1 for his administration.
"No greater priority in this administration then coming up with the funding necessary for reasonable police station," Foster said. "Absolutely a priority when it comes to the use of 'penny' monies."