|11/21/2019 3:31:00 PM|
New LAPD facility sites are under review
The Lakes Area Police Commission last week directed Chief of Police Bill Schlumbohm and Chisago City and Lindstrom officials to expand on potential plans for two sites for a new LAPD facility. Two locations have been coming to the fore in the search for a new Lakes Area headquarters. Chisago City already owns both. One is the undeveloped land at the public works and Fire Hall site off Karmel, north of Hwy 8 and the other is near Mattson Lake, west of the four way stop of the Stacy-Lofton roads, again north of Hwy 8.
The four-member commission will see more details on how a building could be sited on these locations and the advantages and disadvantages of each--probably at the first commission meeting in January 2020.
The commissioners were advised by Chief Schlumbohm that this facility needs to be a 20-year build, “We don’t want to be doing this again any time soon,” he added.
Chair Bob Gustafson, who is Chisago City’s Mayor, commented that there are a few parcels on the market elsewhere but they are costly. Plus he is hesitant to take over a “good commercial property” for government use. Still-- he feels a police facility needs to be centrally-located for decent response times and needs to be somewhat convenient for residents and business owners the department serves.
Lindstrom Mayor Kevin Stenson, a retired chief of police, remarked that people will find the facility wherever it ends up, as most people seek out what the department offices do (take complaints, maintain records, issue copies of reports, provide interview space, etc. Even if the Lakes Area Police offices relocate to Chisago City (where the two preferred sites are) Stenson observed, “Lindstrom will always have a visible police presence.” He stressed that there are school resource officers at the middle and high schools, in Lindstrom and there will be a satellite office for Lakes Area patrol to have a desk in Lindstrom.
There had been talk of a new police facility alongside a new fire hall in Lindstrom. There even had been talk of attaching a police facility to the newer Chisago City Fire Hall when it was built a few years ago.
The police commissioners agreed the city of Lindstrom is no longer being considered for a new Lakes Area P.D. facility location. The new Lindstrom fire hall is progressing into plan finalization stage, for the chosen site on Sylvan Avenue, south of Lindstrom City Hall...minus a law enforcement component.
Lindstrom is “as far east as you can get in the LAPD service area,” explained Schlumbohm, so it just doesn’t meet the preference for a central location.
The current LAPD facility is on the north end of Lindstrom City Hall, and public safety operations have simply outgrown the space. The facility was located there over 10 years ago when the independent police departments merged. There are now 12 officers and an investigator and over 1,000 calls for service, administered in space at city hall which besides being quite small presents some security issues. If a new police department building is developed, Lindstrom city staff and municipal functions will be able to expand into any vacated LAPD space and accommodate Lindstrom government growth for years to come.
Chief Schlumbohm noted any parcels that may even be considered in the area between Chisago and Lindstrom, still in the LAPD territory, have been looked into and are expensive. Schlumbohm showed several photos of properties currently on the market in a powerpoint presentation, with their asking prices. He recommends that using a parcel that’s already government-owned means that much more can be put into the facility project budget.