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Glen Ellyn looks to Panfish Park for new police station location

GLEN ELLYN – In need of more space for its police department, the village of Glen Ellyn is considering moving its officers from the Civic Center to a new station at Panfish Park.

The proposal was developed as one of eight options for the village by architecture and engineering firm Dewberry. Glen Ellyn leaders identified the Panfish property as the best option for the village's space woes during a village board workshop Monday.

Potential plans could include building a 37,000-square-foot facility that would house all aspects of police operations, including a firing range, according to a report prepared by Dewberry for the village board. The project is estimated to cost about $17.5 million – which would include renovations to the Civic Center – but village leaders hope to decrease that amount as plans are further developed.

"We don't want to sacrifice services for the sake of building a police department," Village President Alex Demos said.

Built in 1927, the Civic Center has limited space and various safety, accessibility and layout issues, according to the report. Members of the public are able to wander the building with limited security. The first floor has level changes that are not handicap accessible and restrooms do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The police department also lacks sufficient interview rooms and lockers, as well as an evidence intake and processing area. The station does not have a clear view of the front entrance to the Civic Center and its vestibule, and the location of prisoner and DUI processing poses a potential liability and safety risk.

Other options that would address facility concerns include building an addition to the current Civic Center. However, this would eliminate some of the already limited staff parking, as well as the community gym, according to the report. It also would force some staff to be relocated during construction.

Another site considered for a new police station was the Spring Avenue Recreation Center property. The availability of this land depends on the outcome of a Glen Ellyn Park District study to determine the feasibility of merging the center's activities with the Main Street Recreation Center.

While this proposal addresses all the space issues, it also is the most expensive, and the village would have to wait to move forward until the results of the feasibility study are determined.

Glen Ellyn already owns land at Panfish Park, so the village will not need to spend time and money acquiring property at that location.

"We own everything we need at Panfish already," Trustee Tim O'Shea said. "We could build tomorrow."

O'Shea, along with Trustee Diane McGinley, suggested the village explore the possibility of moving all of its offices to a new facility at Panfish Park and opening the Civic Center to other uses.

Now, the village must take a closer look at its needs to identify which are most critical. Once a more definitive project cost is known, Glen Ellyn will explore potential funding options, such as cutting capital costs or asking for taxpayer support through a referendum measure, officials said.

At Monday's workshop, Demos established an ad hoc committee to take the lead on the project, so its progress will not be tied to the board's meeting schedule.

Committee members include O'Shea and Trustee Dean Clark, as well as Village Manager Mark Franz, Police Chief Phil Norton and Assisant Village Manager Al Stonitsch.

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