City Council Approves Investments in Fire and Purchase of CFC Showers Building for Unified Public Safety
Last night, the City Council approved appropriating proceeds from the recently approved public safety bonds (https://bton.in/OBxjM) for public safety facility improvements, including the purchase of 320 W. 8th Street, a section of the Showers Building adjacent to City Hall.
This purchase allows the City to relocate the Bloomington Police Department (BPD) and Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) administration offices into a unified Public Safety component as part of City Hall. The new location will provide new and much-improved facilities to employees of BFD and BPD, important opportunities to collaborate among the various public safety components, enhanced collaboration with other City Hall departments, opportunities for future expansion, and greater ease for the public when engaging with public safety-related questions or issues.
“I am grateful to the City Council for their support in this step toward greater integration of City departments,” said Bloomington Fire Department Chief Jason Moore. “We are looking forward to improving the work environment for our firefighters and staff while also working more closely with other departments to better serve Bloomington.”
Renovated in 1995, the 1910-era Showers Brothers Furniture complex currently is owned in three sections - the City, the County, and CFC Properties. The City will purchase the 64,000-square-foot CFC portion directly west of the portion currently owned by the City. The Bloomington Redevelopment Commission (RDC) will purchase the property for $8.75 million and make renovations and facility upgrades for an estimated $14.75 million.
"I appreciate all of the work everyone put into this,” said BPD Chief Mike Diekhoff. “I look forward to working with the officers, union leadership, and City administration in designing the best space we can."
“This is another major step forward for our outstanding public safety personnel and programs,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Cities all across America are learning how best to provide a wide range of public safety services to our public – beyond traditional police and fire responses, integrating new approaches with social workers, trained health professionals, mental health expertise, unarmed community specialists and more, along with our sworn police and firefighters. Bloomington is investing in just such an integrated approach with the purchase and repurpose of this historic building. I believe it will serve the community and all our residents well for decades to come.”
This unique opportunity to acquire space that has tremendous flexibility in usage applications is projected to serve public safety purposes for at least 30 years. Benefits include improved working conditions that should aid in employee retention and expansion, adequate and appropriate room for employee duties and departmental functions, ADA compliance and accessibility, and continuation of existing public safety operations without interruption during renovations. Additionally, this purchase co-locates several City departments and allows for the continued preservation of an historic structure in Bloomington.
In addition to the appropriation of funds to purchase the CFC Showers Building, the Council approved funds for rebuilding Fire Station #1 (E 4th St), remodeling Fire Station #3 (Woodlawn Ave), and constructing a new Fire Department training/logistics center and storage facility. The major remodel of Fire Station #1, estimated at $5.5 million, will bring the building up to current standards, remove the basement, avoid complications of mold remediation, fix known issues, and provide energy efficiency updates. The new layout also follows best practices for inclusive space by removing group sleeping areas, showers, and restrooms.
A major renovation, estimated at $2.5 million, of Fire Station #3 will similarly bring the building up to current standards and follow best practices for inclusion. The remaining $2.5 million investment will construct a much-needed permanent Fire Department training/logistics center and storage facility.
Once the building sale is complete, the City will work with CFC lease holders, engage relevant stakeholders, and issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the design work. Information will be released and updated as this process moves forward.
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