Those paying attention to Tuesday’s Jackson City Council meeting heard a discussion among Jackson Police Chief Thom Corley, Fire Chief Don Friddle, Mayor Scott Conger and the Council about a $250,000 budget amendment regarding a possible future public safety complex for the City.
After the discussion, the Council approved the amendment, but to clarify what the amendment was for, it was only to pay for a needs assessment study and nothing further.
“Yeah some people may think we’re designing a blueprint or something like that, but we are in the very early beginning stages of this process,” Corley said after the meeting. “What the Council approved today was to essentially hire a firm to come in and see what our needs are now, project what they will be so far down the line if our area grows as much as we think it will and try to figure out what our needs will be then and then determine what kind of facility we might need after that.
If the process were to play out as proposed, the City of Jackson would build new facilities for both police and fire on the same tract of land at the corner of Chester and Royal where JPD headquarters currently sits among other buildings.
Corley told the Council on Tuesday that JPD administration is currently housed in seven different buildings, and with the complex, five of the seven would be housed under one roof with the two exceptions being aviation, which has office space at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport near the hangar that houses JPD’s helicopter and the office at the Women of Hope Center to ensure quick response times for citizens who have emergent calls from there.
Fire department would move its operations and administration to the complex as well.
When the budget committee met about it at the current JPD headquarters in October, the vote was unanimous to recommend approving the amendment after they took a tour of the place and saw what JPD has and still needs.
“This is something that JPD needs right now,” Conger said after the meeting. “There’s only so much growth you can make over the years until it’s time to get something new.
“While we don’t officially have that documentation yet, we can guess that the assessment will suggest some kind of building to take place on that site. But until we see it, we’re still just guessing. So once we have that information, we can take a much better look at the situation.”
Brandon Shields, email@example.com