• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Construction on new police station to begin in March

Officers with the Versailles Police Department will likely begin working out of a new station at 239 North Main Street in March 2019, according to Mayor Brian Traugott.

He said the project is about 60 days behind schedule, mostly because of budgetary concerns on his part.

During a recent interview, the mayor discussed some of the budgetary challenges of building a $5 million police station.“I think we’ve sacrificed a few things in (this project) because of budgetary concerns,” said Traugott. “But I think from a functional perspective I believe it’s everything – or at least almost everything that myself or the police department desired.”

For example, a decision was made to not remove a sally port – a secure, controlled entry into the police station – from the project. Law enforcement knew the value of having a secure access to get evidence in and out of the station, Traugott said.

That’s a vast improvement over the current police station on Court Street, which doesn’t have an in-house evidence room or sufficient storage space for accident and case reports. “We’ve got some (reports) here at the police station, but we don’t have room for them all,” said Versailles Police Chief James Fugate during an interview last May.

In addition to having secure interview rooms, the new police station will also have a community room, which was scaled-down in size a bit because of budgetary reasons, according to Traugott.

He said the largest budget item in the police station project was its 9-1-1 call center “because that has to be the most secure part of the building.” And because of the necessary technology in a call center, “you really can’t compromise” on what you spend, he added. Overall, Traugott described being able to construct a new police station to serve the community as “a game-changer for our department.”

After the Planning Commission approves a development plan for the new police station at its meeting on Jan. 11, the project will go to bid and “we should be ready to break ground, hopefully in March,” said Traugott. He said the City of Versailles does not anticipate having to finance any more than $3.5 million on the project.

Versailles City Council will ultimately make a decision on what to do with the current police station property on Court Street.Traugott said he’d like for the city to “sell the space and make it more of a productive downtown use. There’s a lot of energy on Court Street. I’d like to take advantage of that right now.”

He cited the repurposing of the historic Amsden Building (at the corner of Court and South Main streets) into the Amsden Coffee Club and Gathered Mercantile store as an example of potential downtown renewal created by private investment.

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