Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Grove

On May 17, the City Council approved a contract for architectural services for remodeling the Grove for eventual use as a police station. That the Council is even considering relocating the Police Department to the Grove has come as a surprise to a few citizens who enjoy attending contra dance events at the Grove.

A bit of history about that space:

Originally built as a teen center with a combination of funds from the local community and CDBG funds, the Grove stopped operating as a teen center in 2004 when attendance dropped off and Community Works determined it could no longer operate the center.

The City reimbursed HUD for the CDBG funds thus freeing the building for other uses. The City Council asked the Parks and Recreation Department to manage the Grove, on a temporary basis, for community classes and programs until the Council determined the best use of that space.

As a result of the Facilities Master Plan study completed in 2008, the City Council determined that Fire Station No. 2 and the Police Station were the two city-owned facilities with the greatest need.

The City Council appointed the 14-citizen member Public Safety Bond Committee to review both facilities and make a recommendation to the City Council. In May of 2010, the Committee recommended the City seek voter approved General Obligation Bonds to finance a new Fire Station No. 2 and the Committee recommended moving the Police Department to the Grove.

In January of 2011, the City Council adopted a goal to “Complete a feasibility and financing plan regarding renovating the Grove for the Ashland Police station and evaluate the use of the existing police station for other City office needs.”

The City Council needs detailed architectural plans to determine the feasibility of relocating the police station to the Grove and to determine realistic costs to do so. If, after reviewing the plans and the associated costs, the Council decides to move forward and relocate the Police Station to the Grove, it could take as long as two years to secure funding and complete construction.

Parks and Recreation has ably managed the Grove for the past seven years and will continue to manage the space until the Council determines otherwise. Someday, people who participate in community run classes and programs may find themselves in another venue, but there will be time for the Parks, the City, and community groups to plan for the transition if it comes.

But for now, detailed plans are the first step needed to make a final decision. It is unlikely the community will see any changes at the Grove for at least two years.

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