Host Public Tours of Department
MINOT – While the exterior of the structure is solid, the inside is much different. The layout is a network of narrow hallways that lead to scattered small work areas and storage places. Heating and wiring are nearing the end of its lifespan. Patrol vehicles sit out in the elements.
Minot Police Chief John Klug unveiled long-awaited plans for improvements to the Police Department to the City Council earlier this week. It called for renovation of the former City Hall at the bottom of the 6th Street Southwest hill, adjacent to the City Auditorium and across the street from the City Library.
The Police Department has long been on the east side of the building, old City Hall in the middle, and a former fire station on the west. The old fire hall now houses special police vehicles, such as those used by S.W.A.T., and an evidence storage locker. The old City Hall has been designated for expansion of the Police Department but requires significant renovation.
Police hosted an open house late Thursday to show anyone interested their current facility.
“We had a focus group come in and look the department over. They commented they were shocked at the state of this building,” said Minot Police Chief John Klug. “When you step inside you can see there hasn’t been a lot done with this building and all the problems with the layout.”
Proposed improvements include a parking garage to house patrol vehicles that are currently parked outside, winter and summer, a new building for Special Operations, and a new building for Municipal Court which is presently held in the City Auditorium. The new buildings would be constructed across the street to the south of the existing PD building. As presented, the project comes with a big price tag — $108-122 million.
“City Hall has moved, there’s a couple of new fire halls, Public Works has expanded, but we’ve consistently been trying to put the square peg in the round hole,” said Klug. “That’s what we’re trying to show with the open houses. We want people to come and see the inefficiency that we’ve experienced to make things work in a space that wasn’t designed for our job. Ultimately, we’re looking for community buy-in support and we want them to be involved in the decision.”
Police have faced other issues related to the department’s location. Several years ago, an anhydrous ammonia spill from a train that derailed on nearby tracks inundated the building, nearly causing evacuation, and, more recently, a massive dike was needed to hold back water from the 2011 Souris River flood.
A second public open house is set for Tuesday, October 10 from 3-7 p.m. Tours will be given to visitors during those hours.
“We’re hopeful people will take the opportunity to come and take a look at what this complex looks like and join in any commentary that we might have moving forward about what this looks like for the community,” added Klug.