New Harrison Public Safety Building plans unveiled; project moving forward
Between cramped and hazardous work spaces, and walls supported by metal rods in some spots:
"We take prisoners in and out of a back alley that's not secured," said Harrison Police Chief Chris Graddy.
"The exhaust, cancer is a big problem with the fire service nowadays, and we don't have a good way to get that out of the building," said Harrison Fire Chief Marc Lowery.
The people who work out of Harrison's City Hall know it's time for an upgrade.
"This has been an attempt for many years. Many mayors have wanted it," said Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson.
Finally a replacement for the more-than 60-year-old building is coming. Eight million dollars will be spent on an all-in-one building for police, fire, and city offices on Industrial Park Road.
"There'll be no additional tax with this project," Jackson said.
Twenty percent of the building will be for city hall, 40 for police, and 40 for fire.
The city is covering its portion, $1.5 million, out of sales tax revenue and franchise fees it has on hand.
"We're all taking care of our part. That's been the question asked if the police and fire public safety tax is going to pay for city hall, and that's not the case," Lowery said.
Meanwhile, the police and fire departments will pay about $2.5 million with money from a half-cent sales tax voters approved in 2014.
"A percentage of that tax is earmarked for equipment and buildings," Graddy said.
Harrison fire and police will need to borrow another $4 million to finish the project that will take about 10 years to pay off, but the money will be there for an upgrade that's soon-to-be on the way.
"I think it's something Harrison will be very proud of," Jackson said.
The city should break ground on the project in a few months, and it will take about a year and a half to build.