Mount Prospect trustees voted Tuesday to spend $5.1 million on a 103,126-square-foot industrial building in the Kensington Business Center for a new police headquarters.
It will cost the village another $22 million to renovate the 36-year-old building at 799 Biermann Court, and the total project cost will come in at about $29 million, Village Manager Michael Cassidy said.
Officials say a new police station solves needs identified by a study released in November. The existing police headquarters on Northwest Highway has only 34,000 square feet, while the department needs 81,000, according to the study.
"I know this is only the first step and there are many more to come, but we really are excited about this opportunity," Police Chief John Koziol said.
Renovating an existing facility, rather than constructing a new building, will save the village about $10 million, Finance Director David Erb said. Funding will come from a combination of general obligation bonds and reserves, and there will be no impact on the tax levy, since the village will refinance existing debt, Erb said.
"We're not looking to build any kind of Cadillac building here. We're talking about a nicely equipped Chevy," Koziol said.
Though tucked away in an industrial park away from the center of town, Koziol said the site's potential access to Kensington Road makes it an ideal location in the event of a critical incident at Randhurst Village shopping center or Prospect High School. The building also gives the department an opportunity to keep police operations on one level, he said.
Trustee Richard Rogers, who is an architect, called the building "an amazing find."
"In this particular case, there is amazing savings," he said. "And this building is very flexible, so that we can easily make the changes to accommodate what the police department needs without having to go through a complete design of a building.
"We're not raising any of our taxes," Rogers said. "Yes, I know it's going to cost $30 million. But it isn't going to be a financial drain on the taxpayers, because this is going to come out of the regular budget over a number of years."
Although the vote to acquire the property was unanimous, not all trustees were convinced it is the best solution.
"It's another industrial building in a line of industrial buildings. And it's on Kensington. It's not near anything else that speaks to municipal services," Trustee Paul Hoefert said. "I have a feeling that people aren't going to know where our police station is, because it's going to be way over there. I think it's potentially the right building in the wrong location."
Hoefert suggested the village look further into renovating and adding onto the existing police station, in a building shared with the fire department.
"I don't see the current building as being obsolete," he said. "I see it as being functionally obsolete."
The village now has 45 days to withdraw from the purchase agreement. Before that window closes, officials will host a community open house March 27, at the proposed new police location.
The village will consider the financing plan April 3, and an April 10 village board committee-of-the-whole meeting will focus on feedback from residents. The proposed bond sale to help fund the project would take place April 18.
"This is not a done deal," Trustee Michael Zadel said. "We really want the community's input."