By John Lynds
There was some confusion at last Wednesday night’s Eagle Hill Civic Association (EHCA) meeting over exactly what is included in the city’s plans to construct a brand new state of the art police station in Eagle Hill at the City Yards.
On one hand, residents said they specifically remember a meeting last December when the city presented a preliminary proposal that showed a police station and a new ambulance bay as part of one project.
At last week’s meeting, the city’s Brian Neelia and architect Josiah Stevenson showed only drawings of a police station.
City officials at the meeting explained that the original drawing were part an overall study and master plan for the site. However, the $25 million earmarked in the budget is for a police station ‘only’.
This left some in the room last week a little frustrated because they were under the impression that the neighborhood would be getting both a police station and ambulance bay as part of one project.
“Twenty years ago when the neighborhood was studying the site it was a combined facility,” said former City Councilor Diane Modica. “I think it is important, if it (ambulance bay) is not part of this project, to speed up the process.”
Modica said with the ongoing development boom in Eastie coupled with an increase in population the current EMS service to Eastie is being overly taxed.
Joanne Pomodoro echoed Modica’s comments and said she was disappointed an ambulance bay is not part of the design.
Neelia and other officials at the meeting explained that the new police station is simply the first phase of an overall redevelopment of the site, which will include the ambulance bays and a new Public Works yard in the future.
The city’s Claudia Correa, who was the Mayor’s liaison during the initial Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meetings regarding the project, said she understood were some of the confusion may have come from. Correa explained that during the first three IAG meetings the group was presented with drawings of what the site would ultimately look like once all the phases are complete. “These drawings included the police station, ambulance bays and Public Works Yard,” she said. “But that was simply the results of a study that was completed by the city on how to best use the site.”
While the city had no time frame of when the other phases would be added to the City Yards site, they were happy to report that bids should be sent out next year and construction on the new police station should begin in October or November 2018.
This will be after a community process on design is completed. The city will return to the EHCA in two to three months with a more detailed architectural plan.
“The building’s designed will work to create a more efficient and better station for police,” said Stevenson. “
Stevenson said the station would be roughly 26,000 sq. ft. with an entrance on the corner of Condor and Trenton Streets. There will be parking in the rear of the station for 50 vehicles and Stevenson said the building will be LEAD Silver Certified.