Public safety on the move

After months of rumors and speculation about the location of the new public safety building, Bremerton Economic Development Director Gary Sexton presented a new proposal to the City Council at its study session on Tuesday.

The Kitsap Credit Union building on Burwell Street is the location that best fits the needs of the city court and police department, Sexton said.

“In the U.S. Bank building the two didn’t fit well together,” he said. “At this location the two will be separated by a sally port.”

Even though the city had initially selected the U.S. Bank building, about 20 percent of the work done on the site will be used at the Kitsap Credit Union building, and the square footage is roughly the same, he said.

Sexton said he has negotiated terms of sale for the US. Bank building and terms of purchase of the new building.

The sale of the U.S. Bank building will allow the city to recover some of its cost associated with its purchase, he said.

Under the new proposal, the city courts will be housed in the credit union’s annex, which will be remodeled and almost tripled in size.

The police department will be housed in the main building on the site after renovations are completed.

The expected completion date of the proposed project is summer to fall of 2006.

Councilman Mike Shepherd said the current situation creates a dilemma for the city.

“When we bought the property we were told that architects scoped it and we were told it was adequate,” Shepherd said. “Now we’re $250,000 down the road and are facing $10,000 a month penalty and are left with no place for them to go.”

The city is trying to get an extension before it sells City Hall in order to keep the city courts and police department there until the new space is ready, Sexton said.

Council President Daren Nygren said that the parking requirements of the credit union site need to be addressed in the planning process.

“To me, it would be irresponsible if we didn’t do a parking study, and I would insist that we do a parking study,” Nygren said.

Parking is available on Chester and at two parking lots near the credit union, Sexton said.

Bremerton Police Chief Robert Forbes said he is excited about the new location.

“I am pleased with the site and am excited about the idea of getting the whole police department under one roof,” Forbes said.

Remodeling challenges and parking are two issues that will have to be addressed with the new location, but overall Forbes said the location fits the needs of the department.

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