Police station in Remington found more costly Price $1.8 million more than Cold Spring Lane site

October 17, 1997|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A consultant said last night that it would cost $1.8 million more to build a Northern District police station in Remington than at a city-owned tract along Cold Spring Lane where city officials have proposed building it.

But that finding got a cold reception last night.

Michael J. Walkely, a consulting engineer, said in a report commissioned by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke that building the station on the 6-acre city tract on Cold Spring west of Interstate 83 would cost $5.5 million. Building one at the vacant F&M drugstore site at 29th Street and Remington Avenue would cost at least $7.3 million.

But after being briefed on the report's contents at city planning offices last night, about 30 North Baltimore community leaders peppered city officials with questions about traffic, public safety and cost estimates.

Many said they preferred the F&M site because it would be cheaper in the long run and more effective at deterring crime in Remington, a neighborhood that needs a stepped-up police presence.

"If there is a benefit to having a police station in a community where crime is happening, put the station at the F&M," Ed Hargadon of the Charles Village Civic Association told Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier.

Charles C. Graves, city planning director, said the city has been planning to replace the aging Victorian-style Northern District station on Keswick Road for the past 10 years.

Graves said the site on Cold Spring ranked first of 11 possible sites in 1994. The city has invested $500,000 on it by hiring engineers and drawing up building specifications, and it could be built in a year, he said.

But the F&M store closed about 18 months ago, and that site became available only about a year ago, Graves said. It is on the market for about $1.5 million, he said.

And because plans have not been drawn for the F&M site, it would take three to four years to build a station there, he said.

Schmoke originally planned to put the station at the Cold Spring site, but he agreed to hire Walkely in July after residents held a rally and flooded City Hall with letters asking that the station be housed at the F&M site.

Community leaders said last night that if the city sold the Cold Spring site, the proceeds could offset the cost difference between the two sites. Also, a station in Remington would fill a vacant storefront and offer the additional security of having 200 Northern District officers there.

They said it wouldn't take three to four years to construct a station in Remington.

Pub Date: 10/17/97

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