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New Garden receives $44K in state funding for regional police department

02/14/2017 12:46PM ● Published by Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer
 
On Feb. 8, State Sen. Andy Dinniman announced that New Garden Township will receive $44,000 in state funding that will assist in the start-up costs for the newly-formed Southern Chester County Regional Police Department.
The funds were provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Municipal Assistance Program.
“The development of the new Southern Chester County Regional Police Department can serve as a model for other communities and municipalities throughout Pennsylvania that are looking to cut costs, improve operations, and expand coverage,” Dinniman said.
Beginning this year, New Garden and West Grove merged their departments in an effort to consolidate, streamline, and modernize operations while providing all residents with full-time police service. The new department includes a 25-member force with 15 full-time members, eight part-time members and two administrators. The department serves a total of more than 15,000 residents in both New Garden and West Grove.
At the time of the announcement, Dinniman said he is also working to secure state funding to support the construction of a new, permanent police station for the department. That's great news for the new police department, who officially began operations on Jan. 2. The idea to construct a new and expanded police facility in New Garden has been on the discussion table for many years in the township. It was kicked up in urgency after the long-time barracks on Gap-Newport Pike were shut down after mold infestation was detected. Since that time, the unit has been housed in an 1,100 square-foot makeshift of interconnected trailers.
The first good news about a potential new police faclity came on Aug. 15, 2016, when New Garden Township's supervisors gave final and unanimous approval to the sale of the township's sewer system to Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater, Inc. (Aqua) for the price of $29.5 million. At several public meetings since the sale, New Garden's appointed and elected officials have said that a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go toward the construction of a new police facility. 
On April 25, 2016, with Detroit-based architect Daniel Redstone at his side, Gerald Simpson, the new chief for the department, unveiled the blueprint and needs assessment for a planned 19,500 square-foot police barracks before the supervisors on April 25.
The facility would provide the new regional department with a greatly improved work flow space, and would include expanded holding areas; a sally port to usher prisoners into holding areas; offices for detectives and police administration offices, including a space for record storage; a property room; public entrance and public areas; a staff training room; both mens' and womens' locker room areas; and expanded parking areas for both police and the public.
Redstone told the township's supervisors that a police facility of this kind would cost between $6.5 million and $7.5 million – about $300 per square feet – if the project were to begin in 2017. The lifespan of the facility, Redstone said, could last as long as 40 years. 
Tevebaugh Associates, a Wilmington-based architectural firm, was selected as the architect for the new police station at the board's Nov. 21, 2016 meeting.
The cost to the township for design will be $294,250. Tevebaugh Associates was the lowest among four firms who bid on the project. The firm has designed several academic, healthcare and public and institutional buildings, including several that dot the downtown Wilmington skyline. The firm is very familiar with creating law enforcement facilities, which include the new, 22,000-square-foot police station in Rehoboth, Del. The free standing building provides detention facilities, a fully enclosed sally port, secure evidence storage, investigation and storage, locker and training room facilities for officers and staff.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail rgaw@chestercounty.com.

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