List narrows to three sites for Northern police station Present Hampden facility deteriorating

November 02, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

After a search of almost two years, Baltimore officials could choose a site for the new $5 million Northern District police station in 30 days, the city's planning director said last week.

"We are starting to finalize the selection" and have forwarded FTC "three final sites" to the Police Department for its consideration, said Charles C. Graves, director of planning.

After police officials decide the matter, it will be reviewed by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

Mr. Graves said the opening of a new Northern District station, for which voters approved the funding in a November 1991 referendum, is at least "two to three years" away.

In searching for a site for the new station house, police and city officials wanted a location conveniently accessible to the district's almost 200 sworn and civilian personnel, and one with at least two acres of land for the building and parking spaces for about 130 vehicles.

The building will have a minimum of 25,000 square feet of space.

It is still uncertain if it will be one or two stories tall.

The current Northern station house is located on Keswick Road in Hampden.

It is the oldest in the city, built nearly 100 years ago.

Officers assigned to the Northern District have complained for years about the deteriorating conditions of the building.

Because the facility is to be replaced, little effort is being made to maintain it, they say.

Police officials said the station needs a new roof and has such large holes in some windows that it is no longer cost-effective to heat and cool it.

They said some sections of the building, which has been renovated and expanded twice since it was built, have been condemned for health or safety reasons.

Officials said that the stone stairs leading to the second floor are worn and have become a safety hazard, and that damp conditions in the basement make it all but unusable.

An officer fell through the flooring in a section of the building that was being used for storage.

That section has since been condemned.

Gasoline pumps were removed from the grounds because of environmental concerns and the lack of funds to correct the situation.

The 24 cells in the Northern station were taken out of use about nine months ago because of deterioration. Suspects arrested in the district are held at the Northeastern District.

Officials said the new station will not have a cellblock, because the city is building a central facility near the Baltimore City Detention Center for booking and holding suspects.

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