Port Police District closes on purchase of new HQ property

Port Police District closes on purchase of new HQ property
Port Washington Police Department Headquarters on Port Washington Blvd. (Photo courtesy of Port Washington Police)

The Port Washington Police District has officially gained ownership of a 1.47-acre Main Street property the department sought out to establish a new headquarters, with the project already kicking off.

“This is a major milestone and the first of many, many steps to make the new, long-overdue headquarters a reality for this beloved community and police district,” Port Police District Chairperson Angela Lawlor-Mullins said. “We have a mountain of work ahead of us, but we are thrilled to have cleared this hurdle so we can focus our energy on the design of the facility and the overall site.”

The property located at 128 Main St., formerly Knowles Funeral Home, was desired as the location of the Police Department’s new headquarters due to its central location in the heart of Port.

The police district said the new site will better serve the community due to its central location, as well as provide more space for the department, which has outgrown its current headquarters at 500 Port Washington Blvd.

“This building is going to be a staple in our community for generations to come, so it is crucial that we do our due diligence to get this right and provide a facility that meets our needs and the expectations of our residents,” Commissioner Sean McCarthy said. “We look forward to sharing our initial building design and overall site plan with the community in the months ahead.”

Work has already begun on the new headquarters, with preliminary cleaning of the property already finished. The police district said this included cutting back the natural overgrowth and picking up trash littered on the property.

Next, the Port Police District said a fence will be installed for security and safety before site work begins in the coming weeks. Site work will start with the demolition of the vacant homes along the property’s southern border.

The Port Washington Police District said its board of commissioners has been meeting with the project engineering consultants to explore the footprint of the headquarters.

Commissioner JB Meyer said the police district is still finalizing its building plans but has begun the conceptualization of the site layout.

Preliminary plans include entrances and exits to the building on both Main Street and Mackey Avenue, as well as creating a natural buffer along Webster Avenue for the surrounding neighbors.

The police district said once a site plan has been drafted, it will then be shared with the community.

The $8.8 million property purchase was approved by the police’s Board of Commissioners in November. It was acquired through the district’s capital reserve funds, and a portion of the reserve usage will be replenished when the current headquarters is sold.

The new headquarters is estimated to cost another $30 million to build and equip. The district said the funding for this will be sought through bond financing with the Town of North Hempstead.

The current headquarters, which was not designed to be ADA-compliant, was built in 1958 for just 35 officers and staff. The district currently employs 80 individuals who are “crammed into spaces designed for less than half as many individuals,” the district said in a press release.

While the building has undergone renovations and expansions to accommodate the growing district, officials said it was not designed for the advancement of technology.

“This investment is more than 25 years overdue as we have outgrown our current headquarters several decades ago and can no longer make the current space work for operating a modern police force to the best of our ability,” Former Commissioner Brian Staley previously said. “The new building will provide many tangible and intangible benefits to the community that will lead to better connectivity, access and service for everyone.”

The district said a community meeting will be held once building designs are nearing the final phase. Residents will be able to ask questions, learn about the project and provide feedback during the meeting.

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