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Park Ridge's $1.2 Million Police Building, Rehab Plan Moving Forward

The Park Ridge Police Department is looking for a company for phase one of its station overhaul that includes an ancillary police building near the station. The total project is expected to cost roughly $1.2 million.

A police building review board next month will consider proposals for a 1,500-square-foot, one-story structure that will help alleviate cramped quarters and address inadequate space for criminal processing, city official said.

The review will come less than a month after the city's police department hosted an informational session with more than 30 companies that are interested in overseeing the first phase of a roughly $1.2 million project, officials said. 

The companies' proposals for a building, which will complement the city's current police department, will be due Aug. 8, said Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski. 

The current station is too small to accommodate its storage and officers, he said. The building's size and configuration also doesn't allow for proper processing for people who are arrested. 

"Prisoner processing is the most critical issue," Kaminski said. "We walk prisoners in front (of the station) where there might be victims or witnesses. You need separation of prisoners for safety. That is a big glaring error." 

Earlier this year, the city put out requests, asking companies to vie for work involving demolition of a nearby home that the city had previously bought and construct an ancillary police building, costing about $361,000.

After the company is selected by the review board, made up of city and police officials, it will refine the building proposal that was recommended by a volunteer task force whose members were appointed by the mayor. 

It recommended the construction of the small police building on city property located south of the police department that's attached to city hall, 505 Butler Place. That phase of the project could be completed by April.

It also recommended a rehab overhaul of the current station, putting the entire project, including the ancillary building, between $1.1 million and $1.3 million. The city secured a state grant that will pay for $40,000 of the total, according to city documents. The final phases could be completed by 2014, Kaminski said. 

Providing enough storage for evidence and space for officers have been major concerns for many years, said Jim Testin, Park Ridge's community preservation and development manager, who will be part of the building review board.  

Earlier studies in 2000 and 2007 indicated that the station should be more than three times its current size, costing between $18 million and $22 million, according to city documents. 

On two occasions over the last decade, the city asked residents about construction of a new police department, via advisory referendum questions. Both times residents voted against the measures.

"Why did they vote it down?" Kaminski said. "I think it was the economy. It's hard to get anything passed like that these days."

The police department, located in the city halls's basement, was converted to its current form in 1962, measuring about 7,000 square feet. In 1985, an 11,000-square-foot addition was built, according to city documents. 

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