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Crestwood eyes approval of police station design


Executive Editor

Approval of the final schematic design for a new police station is scheduled to be considered next week by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

The Board of Aldermen will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, at City Hall, 1 Detjen Drive.

The final schematic design calls for a 29,197-square-foot police station that will be built at a cost of more than $7.7 million. In November, the city issued $9.83 million worth of bond-like certificates of participation to fund the cost of the new police station and improvements to City Hall.

The certificates, which carry an average interest rate of 4.21 percent, will be retired over a 20-year period with revenue from the city's half-cent capital-improvement sales tax. The capital-improvement sales tax originally was approved by voters in 1993 and in-cluded a 15-year sunset provision.

Residents voted last August to remove the 2008 sunset provision and extend the tax another 15 years to 2023.

During a Board of Aldermen meeting last week, Steve Knarr of Horner & Shifrin and Dan Redstone of Redstone Architects presented the proposed schematic design of the new police station.

In their presentation, they noted that the building size has been reduced to 29,197 square feet from 30,340 square feet — a reduction of 1,143 square feet. City Administrator Don Greer, who also serves as police chief, had told the board last month that the size of the building would be reduced.

As proposed, the parking lot between City Hall and the new police station has been reconfigured to provide for a more harmonious "campus-type'' setting to create a safer traffic flow for the Crestwood Swim Club and to provide for an unobstructed route for Fire Department vehicles, equipment and personnel driving to the engine house.

The reduction in the size of the police station will provide funding for needed parking lot improvements as well as nearly $1 million for improvements at City Hall.

"The budget's very important because we've been able to bring you a building for less money that works for the Police Department very well,'' Redstone told the board. "We've worked closely with the chief and he's worked closely with his staff to review the design concepts. He's getting an efficient building. The city's getting a good-looking building that costs less money and you have more money to spend on the site and on the City Hall renovations.''

In response to a question from Ward 1 Alderman Richard LaBore about whether the proposed schematic design was consistent with his original vision for the new building, Greer said, "This meets or exceeds any vision that I had. Mr. Redstone and I have been in constant contact. Actually, I've driven those poor guys nuts, I think, up there. The unique design and characteristics that they bring to the table that I was not able to find in other areas I think have met or exceeded my expectations.

"The department staff has had ample opportunity to review the plans at the various stages. I've taken all their comments into consideration and addressed those with Mr. Redstone over the last five months and the general consensus — Capt. (Frank) Arnoldy is out here who kind of spearheads most of that contact for me in the department and I think he would probably echo my comments that it's being very well received by the officers in terms of its functionality and how well laid out and designed that it is being presented. I'm very pleased with the schematic as it sits today,'' Greer added.

Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox said he was pleased with the schematic design, but wanted some specifics about the cost of the firing range and was told that information could be provided to him.

Maddox said, "Well, I agree with Mr. Greer and the rest of our Police Department that the design really looks very good and the flow in different areas is very good. I would like to know what the cost to have the firing range and the simulators would be because that might be, when the bids come in, all bets are off on estimates of cost and that might be an issue that could significantly reduce some of the costs.''

Redstone replied, "Well, I think we are going to be on budget, but — I know we are.''

Ward 2 Alderman Gary Vincent later said to Redstone, "I think you've done a wonderful job here, you and the staff here at the city, and this is a great plan, and I think it will work well for the city into the future.''

In other business May 13, the board:

Voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance to begin condemnation proceedings for property owned by G.J. Grewe Inc. to extend Glenwood Drive.

As proposed, the extension would improve traffic flow at the intersection of Glenwood Drive and Watson Road as well as provide cross access between Watson Plaza and the Kohl's Department Store being built at the northwest corner of Watson and Sappington roads.

The city's Planning, Zoning and Architectural Review Commission had voted unanimously the previous week to recommend aldermen adopt the measure.

However, Gary Grewe of G.J. Grewe Inc. and his attorney, Kevin Cushing, said they opposed the access proposed through Watson Plaza to Glenwood Drive and requested the board postpone consideration of the ordinance until Crawford, Bunte, Brammeier could perform a traffic study taking into consideration Grewe's proposal to redevelop Watson Plaza.

After a prolonged discussion, Greer recommended the board authorize the traffic study, noting the cost is recoverable through funds generated by a transportation development district that will be established to help fund road improvements at the Kohl's site.

Aldermen voted unanimously to accept Greer's recommendation and authorize Crawford, Bunte, Brammeier to perform the traffic study.

Voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance authorizing an agreement with Peckham, Guyton, Albers & Viets to conduct a blight analysis of Watson Plaza at a cost not to exceed $9,000.

G.J. Grewe Inc. is proposing a $12.5 million redevelopment of Watson Plaza that calls for a Gordmans and a PETCO as well as retaining existing tenants. As proposed, a new Gordmans would occupy the former Service Merchandise building, a new PETCO would be built next to Gordmans and a new Walgreens would be built on the site of the former Tippins.

Grewe's proposal also includes a request for $2.5 million in tax-increment financing assistance and the blight analysis is needed if the board is going to consider granting that assistance.

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