NEWTOWN Residents tour proposed police HQ
NEWTOWN — Police officials looking for a new headquarters gave residents a tour Saturday of the existing department and their proposed new home on South Main Street.
The tours of both buildings, which were held from 10 a.m. to noon, were part of the department’s ongoing efforts to build a new headquarters that began more than 10 years ago. Officials argue that the current headquarters, which was created out of a former tractor dealership in the 1980s, has become too small for the department’s needs.
“An officer could easily end up processing evidence on the same table they have to eat dinner on,” Police Chief James Viadero said recently about the cramped quarters.
When the station was first built in the 1980s the department had 20 officers with a town population of about 19,000 residents. Today, the town has nearly 28,000 residents and 45 officers.
Members of the Board of Selectmen discussed various proposals for the new headquarters, including construction of a new building on the existing site -- before settling on a plan to refit the former Taunton Press building on South Main.
The building has more than 21,000 square feet on 11 acres, compared to the current station that has about 8,000 square feet.
Town officials said they could save more than $5 million on the project by using an existing facility, rather than building new.
“We would need to include a small addition to the building for the sally port and if we decide on a firing range that would be in a separate auxiliary building,” First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said.
Tours of both buildings are also scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to noon.