Remington police station is planned The owners of vacant F&M building agree to let city purchase site

December 23, 1997|By Robert Guy Matthews DTC | Robert Guy Matthews DTC,SUN STAFF

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will open a small police station in the vacant F&M building in Remington to appease residents who failed to persuade the city to relocate the proposed Northern District police station to their neighborhood.

The police station would house the traffic and tactical divisions along with the headquarters for the growing Police Athletic League. About 220 officers would be relocated there.

"The city's offer to purchase that building has been accepted by the owners," said Schmoke in a Dec. 19 letter to the three 2nd District council members who led the fight for the police district. "It is our intent to utilize the building as a police operations center that would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The deal to purchase the building is being finalized, city officials said, but the cost should be about $1.2 million.

The Northern District station on Keswick Road in Hampden is a Victorian architectural landmark nearly a century old.

City leaders are studying what to do with the building when it is vacant. No decision has been made.

Schmoke angered many Remington residents in October when he decided to build the Northern District station on city-owned property near Cold Spring Lane and the Jones Falls Expressway for about $5.9 million.

Both neighborhoods wanted the police station nearby to stem crime.

Remington residents wanted the city to tear down the F&M building and build the station there. But the mayor said that was too costly.

Hoping to broker another deal, council members Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Paula Johnson Branch and Robert L. Douglass assembled Remington neighborhood leaders and began a series of meetings with the mayor.

"We really kept the pressure on the mayor," Branch said.

Branch said that she expects police could move into the F&M building by the end of next year.

"I think the mayor has a win-win situation for all parties concerned," Branch said. "And keeping a police presence in both locations and in particular for Remington will provide enhanced safety in the area and stabilize the community."

Police say that officers at the Remington station will not investigate crimes or jail suspects.

Instead, "The new facility will become an institutional anchor in the community," said Robert W. Weinhold Jr., Police Department spokesman.

The tactical, traffic and PAL headquarters are in the main downtown police headquarters.

Pub Date: 12/23/97

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