Safety violation citations, leaking sewage and other problems at the Port Chester police station have led the Village Board of Trustees to begin serious conversations about potentially building a municipal center for the police station, courthouse and village hall.
Trustee Saveriio L. Terenzi started the conversation at last week’s board meeting by presenting a plan to purchase property at the corner of Poningo Street and Irving Avenue to build the structure.
Terenzi’s proposal includes specific numbers but is just a conceptual plan that the board plans to use as a starting point to start the discussion about a center.
Board members were supportive discussing the idea, especially considering the myriad of issues with the current police station; the most recent a sewage leak that forced the village close the male prisoner cell blocks. The cells will be closed for about six weeks while repairs are made and the village is hoping to use Rye City and/or Rye Brook Village's cells in the mean time. The sewage lines must be replaced, which will cost about $30,000, Village Manager Chris Steers said.
This spring, the New York State Department of Labor cited the village for 18 violations regarding electrical problems, inadequate signage, egress and leakage issues, and other problems, many of which they have already repaired, Steers said. But the total cost of those repairs is about $300,000, he said.
“This isn’t time to spend money, but we don’t have a choice,” Mayor Neil Pagano said of plans for a new municipal center that would cost millions of dollars. “This board is not going to walk away from this responsibility. Our police deserve a heck of a lot more and our village deserves a heck of a lot more.”
Terenzi’s projections estimate the project would cost the village about $24 million. It would require purchasing the properties on that corner to build a parking lot, village hall, courthouse and police station.
“Hopefully my numbers are high,” Terenzi said, emphasizing that the figures he presented are very loose, preliminary numbers.
Village Manager Chris Steers said the village should consult an outside expert to do needs assessment and bring proposals to the table.
Pagano emphasized that the village is taking no action on this project right now or any time soon and that the Poningo and Irving idea is not the only that will be discussed.
“This is a longer range plan, it is in the discussion stages, that is it,” Pagano said. “We are not selling anything tomorrow.”