Another project a long-time-in-the-making is a step closer to fulfillment after the May 1 Gardner City Council meeting.
Council members discussed ballot language for a proposed Justice Center to house the police department and municipal court. In 2016, the city purchased 15 acres of land off 167th Street.
Need for a new building was first determined in 2013 when the city conducted a study of the current Gardner Police Department facilities, and they were graded as inadequate.
For anyone who has visited the building, it’s old and cramped and inefficient. Originally a telephone company office, it’s been remade and reconfigured several times.
It may have served the needs of Gardner at 9,000, but it’s inefficient for a growing community of 20,000 plus.
An architect’s study done in 2015 to determine community needs and cost estimated construction then at $8.9 million.
In the past two years, current cost estimate to construct the facility in 2018 has grown to $13.7 million. That amount will only increase as time goes forward.
Kudos to the city council for reaching consensus on ballot language and for allowing the residents to have a voice in this important need.