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Milton could add city hall back into police department project

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Neil Johnson
September 30, 2013

MILTON—If the Milton City Council likes a new proposal that emerged last week, it could rekindle plans to add city hall into designs for the future Milton Police Department on Janesville Street.

Milton City Council earlier this year had been knee deep in design plans that featured an addition at the former Dean medical building to house city hall.

The city bought the vacant building at 710 S. Janesville St., in 2012, and had originally planned to turn the building into the new police station to replace the current police station on Parkview Drive, which is aging, short of evidence storage and parking garage space and has chronic roof leaks.

The city planned to add 3,000 square feet to the building for a new city hall. At the time, city officials sought to pull city hall out of the Shaw Building at 430 E. High Street, which it shares with the Milton Public Library, to allow the library room to expand.

But plans for a city hall add-on at the former Dean building got derailed in August after project bids came in $200,000 higher than the $2.5 million project budget, which included construction of the police station, city hall and a library renovation at the Shaw building.

Earlier this month, the city bid the project out again, with just a police station renovation at the Dean building. The low bid, again by MacGill Construction, came in about $300,000 higher than the city's estimated budget for just a police station retrofit, according to city records.

Meanwhile, the project has slowed down, and the city has also been in negotiations with owners of a former bank property, where the city has considered moving city hall.

Now, Mayor Brett Frazier said a new plan has emerged from a meeting last week with city staff, the city's project engineer at Angus-Young Associates, and the project's winning bidder, contractor MacGill Construction.

“I told them, let's figure out if there's a way to get creative with this project and put it to bed,” Frazier said.

Frazier said a MacGill official indicated he believed the company could add back in a 3,000 square-foot city hall at the future police department and meet the project's original $2.5 million budget and design objectives.

The city council will review the new proposal and cost estimates Tuesday night.

“We should have solid numbers back by Tuesday, but when we all left there meeting (last week), it appeared there was a reasonable chance we'd have a building that meets our objectives, cost and goals,” Frazier said. “Hopefully, we can put a bow on this thing.”

According to Frazier, the significant change to the project would include shrinking the planned parking garage addition at the police department by two stalls.

Frazier said that would mean the department would have space to house all but two of its cruisers.

“It's great to have as many cars indoors as you can, but we have a minimum of at least two officers with cruisers on patrol at all times. How often is every car going to need to be in the garage? Not that often,” Frazier said.

He said the new plan would eliminate a planned basement storage space beneath the proposed city hall addition. Frazier said the city could potentially share storage space with the police department in an existing basement at the Dean building.

Frazier said the city has been in the position of wrangling with costs over a major facility project amid a recovery in the economy, which has caused construction prices to climb beyond project plans that are several months old. 

“If this issue has been the worst manifestation of the economic recovery that Milton will see, we're in pretty good shape,” Frazier said.



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