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In roughly two months, La Grange will have its police department back on Main Street for the first time in decades.
Earlier this year, at the request of Mayor Bill Lammlein, the city approved up to $300,000 to be used from the city’s reserve funds to renovate the old firehouse on Second and Main Streets to become the new home of the La Grange Police Department.
As of last week, roughly $90,000 had been spent and the work was at least halfway finished, Lammlein said.
The new police station will take up two of the five bays originally used by the La Grange Fire Department, as well as all the front office space. Lammlein is hoping to convince Oldham County EMS, which is run by Baptist Health, to lease out the other three bays, he said.
“We want them as close to downtown as possible and I’m willing to do whatever to make that happen,” Lammlein said of his attempt to lure EMS back to Second and Main. “We’re going to lease it out to someone who wants to finish the space.”
During a tour of the facility, Lammlein said the new space will have more offices for La Grange Police, as well as a full kitchen and meeting spaces. He was unsure if the department will use the upstairs of the building initially, but noted the current designs allow for a lot of expansion in the future.
Which is a positive for a department that had run out of space, Lammlein said.
“They had outgrown the space over there,” Lammlein said. “It would have cost more to do an addition to do what’s needed (at the current station). It needs a new roof, maintainence on the HVAC. It’s used heavily.”
In addition to saving on costs in renovations to the current building, Lammlein said he wanted the visibility of a police force right in downtown to return to La Grange.
“Visibility is the number one asset of any police force,” he said. “It’s always a deterrent. Plus, I know it will make them happier in new digs. More comfortable.”
With the city already owning the building at Second and Main, it made sense to move the police department, Lammlein said. Besides, he added, the property once housed city hall as well as both police and fire departments befoRE the original building burned down around 1980 and operations were moved to their current location on Jefferson Street.
That current location will be auctioned after the move is completed, Lammlein said, which is currently targeted for August.
“There’s no reason we should keep that building,” he said. “It would be a great location for an attorney or an insurance business.”
Lammlein said he believes the total renovation costs for the move will be almost $150,000, half of what is budgeted and which will be recouped by the auction of the current police station.
And with the current station having been used for more than 30 years, Lammlein hopes the new station will last just as long.
“They can stay here many, many years,” Lammlein said. “It’s a space that can grow with them.”
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