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Saturday, Feb. 24
The Indiana Daily Student

city bloomington

Bloomington Police Department headquarters for sale

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The Bloomington Police Department headquarters, located on 220 E. Third St., is up for sale for $3.2 million.

The new police headquarters will be moved to Showers Building West on 601 N. Morton St. by the end of 2024.

City Councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith said the city purchased Showers West, the southwest portion of the Showers building on 601 N. Morton St. in fall 2022. Piedmont-Smith said the funds for the purchase and renovations will come from bonds issued by the city in December 2022. The bond issuance maximum approved by city council was $29.5 million.

Showers West was owned by CFC Properties, a local real estate company, before the city purchased it. City Hall currently occupies the east side of the building. Monroe County government has offices in the northern part of the building.

“The mayor's administration was very interested in purchasing Showers West for use as a new police station and for the fire department administrative offices,” Piedmont-Smith said.

Piedmont-Smith said the City Council approved the purchase with a 5-4 vote in January 2023.

Piedmont-Smith said the new police headquarters in Showers West will give police officers more space. She said the current police headquarters is too small and has flooding problems. Half of the square footage of the building is in the basement.

According to B Square Bulletin, the part of the Showers building that was bought for the police and fire headquarters is approximately 60,000 square feet. The current police station is about 21,000 square feet.

She also said the fire department’s administrative offices are currently transitioning to the Showers Building since the main fire station, located at the corner of Fourth Street and Lincoln Street downtown, is uninhabitable due to a flood in June 2021. The fire department has been in a temporary space at the corner of Fourth Street and B-Line trail since the flood.

The city needs to renovate the Showers West Building to make it suitable for a police station, according to Piedmont-Smith. The funding to renovate Showers West will come from the projected $3.2 million sale of the current police headquarters. If the building sells before Showers West is renovated, the police department will stay in the current building until the renovation process is complete.

Fraternal Order of Police President Paul Post said that the police union opposes the police headquarters being moved to Showers West after seeing the building's issues and expenses.

Don Owens Memorial Lodge 88, Fraternal Order of Police represents 12 Indiana law enforcement agencies in Monroe and Brown County. According to their website, FOP 88's mission is to represent law enforcement in their wages and salaries, rights, benefits, work hours and safety.

“Selling the current building before the new facility is even designed does not seem like a good idea,” Post said.

Post agreed that the new Showers West building would have more square footage than the current headquarters on Third Street. He also said that the Third Street location has limited parking, and the building continues to have flooding issues in the basement. Post said BPD has completed multiple renovations to accommodate staff needs inside the building.

Post said he thinks putting a police department in an existing historical building is not an ideal plan. He is concerned that since the building is a 114-year-old wood and stone constructed furniture factory building, it will not be brought up to new certification levels for seismic and weather-related standards. He said that the age of the building makes it so the exterior cannot be modified to provide necessary security upgrades.

“We do not feel that using such an old building as a starting point to re-do police and fire headquarters is prudent, safe or financially sound planning” Post said.

Post said that the existing parking lot will have to be modified for police use and to allow for visitors and tenant parking. Post also said that the police will need a section of the parking garage to be blocked off for police use only but Mayor John Hamilton has been unwilling to do so.

“We would prefer to have a stand-alone police department due to the 24/7 operations of a police department and our parking needs,” Post said.

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