Logansport is closer to getting a new police station, and not one located in the City Building.
At the City Council meeting on Nov. 3, Mayor Chris Martin announced that no one had contested the state giving the city the former juvenile detention center in the 800 block of High Street during a 30-day period for comment.
It will still take about 30 to 45 days for the city to receive the building, but it would be at no cost to the city.
City officials have looked at the building after City Council President Dave Morris, D-Ward 1, suggested it as a possibility.
The Logansport Police Department has been inside the City Building at 601 E. Broadway since it was opened in 1925, using space on four floors, including the basement, and also putting some of its operations into two other buildings.
Martin said city officials hope to have renderings for renovation of the building by the end of the year. It could take up to a year to renovate the building at a cost of $5 million to $7 million, said Martin.
The city’s Public Safety Committee has the potential new police station on its agenda for the 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8 meeting.
This search for a new building for the police began soon after Martin’s administration took office in 2020, said Police Chief Travis Yike.
“But I’m not the first chief to look into this,” Yike said. “Several chiefs in the past have wanted a stand-alone police department.”
When Rob Smith was police chief, the city was considering the green brick building at 421 E. Broadway, which was built as Farmers and Merchants State Bank and recently housed Trine University before the Cass County Historical Society bought it in March.
The police have shared a building with city government since before the current building was completed in 1925.
The combined building before that was at Third Street and East Broadway, according to Cass County Historian Thelma Conrad.
Outside the City Building, the police department shares space with the Logansport Community School Corporation for a training room and with the Cass County Emergency Management Agency for things like equipment storage.
“It would be nice to consolidate in one building,” Yike said.
Police work has changed over the years, and there is more equipment, such as computers, and more officers and more evidence collected as the city grows.
The evidence rooms are among areas needing more space. There’s only one locker room, and there have been two female officers in the 17 years he’s been on the police force.
The department has to make accommodations for female officers, but a new building would mean locker rooms and bathrooms for females.
Office space is shared among officers and cramped, and parking spaces around the City Building are getting scarce.
The police keeps some vehicles in the city’s Barnes parking lot a block west of the City Building off East Market Street.
Patrol cars pulling out of the sunken lot in back of the City Building and on to Sixth Street have traffic problems, which can delay police response, Yike said.
With the police in another building, there’ll be more room for other departments, too.
Logansport Municipal Utilities Superintendent Greg Toth said his department has administrative workers in the buildings on Michigan Avenue and Bringhurst Street and a software engineer in a hallway.
More room in the City Building could also free up space for small conference rooms or guest offices for out-of-town vendors, he said.
Although the building on High Street looks like a certainty for Logansport and a new police station, Yike remains cautious.
The city had been looking at the site of the former Marsh supermarket, 315 14th St., and had been getting appraisals for it in summer 2020. Word got around about that, but it didn’t work out.
However, Yike is optimistic about the former juvenile detention center.
“It’s a great opportunity to have a place to call home,” he said.
He added that the building would not only be for the police but also for the public.
It should be a place where people can feel safe coming to, especially if making a report, and can get to easily. He thinks any new police station should represent itself as part of the city.
Yike would like something about it to reflect Logansport, just as Huntington’s current police station uses limestone that the city has been known for.
Also at Monday’s Council meeting, the council approved a resolution allowing the Logansport Redevelopment Commission to potentially purchase 57 acres of land at Chase and Davis Roads, near the northeast roundabout.
The redevelopment commission members are looking at the land to help relieve Logansport’s scarce housing.
Someone has already made an offer on the land, but the city is in the second position if that deal doesn’t work out, Martin said.
The resolution states that the redevelopment commission cannot offer more than $650,000 for the land.