After 10 years of hoping, planning and gathering funding, it looks like the City of Corcoran’s police department is moving closer to constructing a new police building. During last week’s city council meeting, council members approved moving ahead with an architectural and engineering design for the new facility, along with prepared plans for construction.
Chief of Police Reuben Shortnacy has been working in the project since the idea first surfaced during the Obama administration. It appeared at that time the city would be eligible for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money to build a new police building. However, even though the city had a “shovel ready” project, it was not funded and the subsequent downturn in the economy—accompanied by the dissolution of the Corcoran Redevelopment Agency (RDA)—put the PD’s plans on the shelf. Shortnacy kept at it, recognizing the existing facility, located on Chittenden Ave., was becoming increasingly inadequate. In 2015, Shortnacy, the CrisCom Company (the city’s lobbyist in Sacramento) and others in the county cobbled together a public safety grant proposal that was sold to the state. The request for funds came after changes in California law impacted criminal prosecutions and early releases of state prison inmates. To that end, Corcoran’s police department received $3.8 million in state funds to be used towards a new police facility. There was another sticking point. Although the city has received money, it apparently was not going to be nearly enough to construct a new building. It was estimated that any such new facility would cost in excess of $10 million. Likewise, renovation of the existing building was deemed too costly. Just last year, the city contracted with Hoffman Finn Development Company to review the original 2008 plans to find out where cost-saving measures could be realized. After considering new construction, as well as a remodel of the former superior court building across the street from the current department, the answer was once again disappointing. Those plans were just not feasible. Staff started working with CrisCom again this year, after the lobbyist had shown some success in obtaining funding for neighboring cities for police projects. There was hope additional funding could finally secure a new facility. At the same time, Chief Shortnacy began meeting with Teter, an architectural and engineering firm, to discuss a modular building concept. The designs are widely used for large construction projects and now becoming more common for public safety facilities. In recent months, Teter completed a preliminary design of the local PD building and presented an initial conceptual cost of an amazing $3.932 million for the project. That cost includes design, engineering, site work and construction. The full design, with council’s approval, will now be carried out. Chief Shortnacy said he expects that part of the project to take 30-45 days. Cost is estimated at about $150,000. The bid process and construction will take another nine months or so. The city will use the $3.8 million grant towards those costs. The new building will face Hanna Ave. and be situated just east of the existing facility. It will also abut to the city park on Otis Ave.