Tempe is going ahead with plans to build a police substation on Apache Boulevard as part of the city’s effort to redevelop the street.
Voters approved the bonds needed to build the station in 2002, but the city held off on the $20 million project because it was worried about the estimated $250,000 a year it will take to maintain the complex.
Last week, the City Council decided to begin work on the station, which is scheduled to be completed in February 2007, and pull the maintenance costs from the General Fund.
"For the revitalization to continue on Apache, we have to send a strong message that we need police cars and policemen on the central corridor," said Councilman Ben Arredondo.
The city also has changed plans to put the station on the southeast corner of Apache and McClintock Drive, where a light-rail station is planned. Instead, the station will go on nine acres farther east on Apache, where the city owns half of the land needed for the project.
Tempe is purchasing the rest of the land, officials said. Land on the new site will cost about $2 million. Land for the station on the corner would cost closer to $8 million, said assistant police chief Jay Spradling.
"The police department basically said although it would be nice to be on the corner with the light-rail station, there’s a whole lot we can do with $8 million," Spradling said.
Besides housing much of the city’s police car fleet, the new station also will be the new property and evidence storage facility. Most evidence now is stored at a complex at Fifth Street and Hardy Drive, which Spradling said is one of the oldest facilities in the Valley.
The complex serves as a warehouse for evidence such as guns, and it has freezers to store biological evidence. There are several buildings on the site.
"We’re literally operating out of three different small buildings, a couple of storage sheds and a couple of mini storage lockers," he said. "We have stuff all over the place."
The city is selecting an architect for the project. Construction is set to begin in 2005.
The station also will ease congestion at the downtown police station and court complex, said Glenn Kephart, Tempe public works manager.
"It helps them diversify their operations from north Tempe," he said. "It spreads it out a little better. It gives a police presence on Apache Boulevard, which is going to be a real benefit to the city."