Police & Fire Facility

Why Reconstruct the Public Safety Building?

The existing Public Safety facility was constructed in 1958, making it nearly 65 years old today. In FY22, the design of a new facility was budgeted. There were initially multiple alternatives that were considered for the location of the Police station. One possibility was to repurpose the Community Center (or a portion thereof) to become the Police Department and to designate the fourth floor of the City Center facility for future recreational use. An appraisal of the Community Center building was performed that renders this option infeasible due to the FEMA substantial improvement rule. Another option that was considered, but ultimately not explored, was the relocation of the Police Department to the fourth floor of the City Center building. The operational logistics of this placement is unfavorable for the following reasons:

  • A standalone public safety facility is highly preferred to stand out to the public seeking assistance and to serve as a source of community pride.
  • Escorting people up to the fourth floor of the City Hall building would make it difficult to discretely interview witnesses or to safety escort suspects.
  • Separation from the Fire Department makes the two departments unable to easily share certain facilities (ie. Gymnasium, copy/supply space, training/conference rooms, EOC) resulting in more costly construction or more commuting between facilities.

Preliminary site layouts for the remaining location alternatives for the combined Police and Fire facility were evaluated for the existing 108th Avenue site or relocation to the area north of the new City Hall at 105th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard.

Existing Police/Fire Site on 108th Avenue

In order to ensure continuity of operations, the building would need to be located outside of its existing footprint. Keeping in mind that the fire engines require a pull-through and that the new Public Works/Master Pump Station facility is being constructed on the west side of the site, this option would either require that the elevated public safety facility be constructed close to the eastern condominiums or placed between the existing building and the new proposed Public Works facility, which will be located on the west end of the site. Configuring the drive-through bays from north-to-south requires less space on the site, but results in hairpin turns that would be difficult to maneuver in a large truck and places the travel path too close to the seawall. The other option of configuring the bays east to west takes up more space and results in an additional turning movement that increases emergency response times. Both of these options take away from space that could become a larger public waterfront park.

Public Safety fire

New City Hall Site at 105th Ave. and Gulf Boulevard

Through the initial site evaluation process, several advantages became apparent when placing the facility adjacent to the new City Hall:

  • Reduced emergency response times by approximately 15%, as most calls require trips to the Commercial district. A heat map showing call location distribution is provided as Attachment B.
  • Enhances Public Safety’s connection to the community by being more accessible in the center of town.
  • Easier collaboration with other City management staff and departments.

Police and Fire marine vessels are proposed to be located at a secured area of the public works yard on the west end of the 108th Avenue site. Police officers are often on patrol and away from the station. Having a separation of the public safety building and the marina would have little to no effect on response times due to the comparatively low number of emergency responses involving the marine units.

Relocating the public safety facility to another location provides for a waterfront park along 108th Avenue that provides the following benefits:

  • Programmed spaces to support the downtown. For example, kids can play while on a wait at restaurants.
  • Waterfront venue for markets, music or other events.
  • Large marina with transient slips with connectivity for visitors to the beach or downtown and water taxi access. Potential to add a kayak/paddleboard launch.

A public restroom facility can be constructed within the proposed Public Works building footprint to accommodate users of the park.

Final Site Selection

In January 2023, the City Commission chose to move forward with the new City Hall site at 105th Ave. and Gulf Blvd. A work authorization and scope for the design will be forthcoming for approval. Grant funding for the construction phase will be pursued.

The reconstruction of the public safety facility assists in meeting several of the City’s strategic plan objectives, including: Continue towards the replacement of City facilities, Plan and finance a new Public Safety building, Improve recruitment and retention of City employees, Enhance connectivity between the waterfront and the downtown, Implement the Master Park Plan: Provide transient boat slips, increase water access, Expand programming opportunities and unique community events, Maintain a safe community, Ensure the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan prepares the City for any community incident, Cultivate a unified sense of Community Pride and Identity, Become an environmentally sustainable and resilient community and Rise above sea level challenges.

Updated 3 February 2023