HUBBARD City weighs police station plans

Hubbard has a federal loan and a small grant for police headquarters.
HUBBARD -- An architect will recommend whether the city should build a new police headquarters or renovate what it has by the end of the month or June 1.
The timetable of the Howland architectural firm of Baker, Bednar & amp; Associates Inc. was outlined Friday by Robert Paterniti, city safety director, and city auditor Michael Villano.
The city has received approval of a $1.1 million low-interest loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Facilities Grant/Loan Program as well as a $20,000 grant.
Villano explained that the 30-year loan is fixed at 43/4 percent unless the interest rate decreases before the project is complete. The rate can't increase, but can decrease.
The city administration and city council have discussed whether to use the funds to build a new facility or renovate the building, which was built in the mid-1800s. Even an addition is aged, having been built in 1923.
Sensitive issue: Villano termed the decision a "sensitive issue" because some officials and residents want a new building, while those who want to preserve history favor renovation.
The auditor explained that the final decision will be determined by the final cost and the available funding.
"We don't have too much room to maneuver," Villano said. "Trying to save it will be an extremely costly alternative."
Although the final decision will be made by council, Mayor George Praznik said he favors new construction.
"Our police station is an embarrassment to the community because of the deplorable conditions. You're better off with new."
Praznik said there was room at one time for police headquarters at the city building, but the space was turned over to senior citizens.
"It's my strong feeling that they [architects] are going to go with new. It's too costly to renovate," Paterniti said.
Paterniti said the building would have to be gutted and the foundation strengthened.
He wants a new building where the police parking lot is next to the headquarters on West Liberty Street, with the war memorial in the design.
The old structure, Paterniti said, would then be razed.
Paterniti has been visiting other area police departments for ideas.

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