Westerville city leaders will offer opportunities for the public to see Westerville's current police and court facilities and concepts for the future.
Christa Dickey, the city's community affairs director, said there are two scheduled open houses, one from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 26 at the existing Westerville Division of Police headquarters, 29 9 S. State St., and from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 2 at 229 Huber Village Blvd., where the city hopes to have one facility for its police and court needs.
The city's police and mayor's court staff currently are in three separate buildings. Planning for a new police and court facility has been underway for nearly a decade, according to westerville.org. The concept was planned for a number of reasons, but the primary reason is that a larger facility is needed because the police division has outgrown its 30-year-old building, according to the site.
A 20-year, 0.96-mill bond issue that would cost home owners $33.60 annually per $100,000 starting in 2021, is headed to the Nov. 5 ballot for the purpose of funding the facility, according to the city website. Estimated costs for the project are about $15 million.
City Manager David Collinsworth said the city acquired a building and property at 229 Huber Village Blvd. in August 2018 that has been intended for a future police and court facility. The city acquired the building and parcel for $1.9 million, below its original asking price of more than $2.5 million, according to the city website.
Dickey said on Sept. 26, one tour will be conducted every 15 minutes. She said visitors will see the limitations of the current facility and how the new building would be able to improve upon that.
Dickey said visitors will be taken through an outdated shooting range, housed in the basement that has poor ventilation, and see the condition of the jail's holding cells, the training room and the community-services bureau.
She said the space used by the mayor's court would be repurposed as an Uptown Westerville satellite office for officers, so they could maintain a presence in the area.
She said visitors also would see the investigation bureau, across the street from the current police building.
Police Chief Charles Chandler said he hopes the tour of the building can make the conditions more clear to residents.
"I hope they'll see the current scenario of where the officers are working," he said.
Dickey said the second tour, on Oct. 2, would be held like a construction meeting.
"We're not going to be touring the entire space," she said.
She said renderings of the new space would be shown.
Dickey said she's hoping the two meetings will create a fluid experience for residents.
Both tours are free and open to the public.