Could former Milton clinic be future cop shop?

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Neil Johnson
Thursday, August 16, 2012

— The city of Milton's police station could move to a former medical clinic. At least, the city is taking a look at the option.

The city council will take a tour Tuesday of the former Dean Clinic Building at 710 S. Janesville St. on the east side.

The idea, City Administrator Jerry Schuetz said, is for the city council to get a first glimpse at whether the facility could work as a police department.

The city has talked for a few years and has studied the option of replacing its current police facility at 120 Parkview Drive.

The current police department, which is 5,500 square feet and was built in 1960, has limited storage, office and parking space and has had ongoing maintenance problems, officials have said.

The current building lacks adequate evidence storage and has only one locker room for the 12 male and female employees. Its garage is large enough to hold just two of the department's seven vehicles.

Its roof also continues to leak, despite repeated attempts to patch it.

"We've got employees there having to cut up carpeting so that mold doesn't grow in the station. And they're dealing with constant inefficiencies that are due to a lack of space that allows them to do work," Schuetz said. "We want them to be able to focus on their primary work and not having to focus on constant facility challenges."

The former Dean Clinic building, which was built in 1990 but has been vacant since 2010, has about 6,800 square feet of space.

The city looked at buying the former clinic in 2010, but it shelved the idea because the city was looking for a facility that could fit both the police department and the fire station. Officials decided it wasn't big enough for both.

The city last year began looking at a deal to move most of its city services into the vacant former ANGI Energy Systems facility at 15 Plumb St. That building would have given the department about 11,600 square feet of space, plus a garage, according to city estimates.

The plan fell apart earlier this year because potential costs for renovations were higher than the city anticipated, officials said. That prompted the city to resume considering the former Dean Clinic as a police station, Schuetz said.

An official at Sara Investment Real Estate, the listing agent, declined to comment on the situation.

Schuetz said the former Dean Clinic is set up conveniently for potential re-use as a police department.

"It's a former clinic, so it's set up for restricted access and unrestricted public access. That lends itself nice for a police department," Schuetz said.

It also has a steel roof and parking lots on three sides with enough space to build a garage for the department's fleet, Schuetz said. It's on a frontage road east of Janesville Street across from Milton Piggly Wiggly that ends in a dead end just north of Highway 59.

Schuetz said the council could vote as early as Tuesday whether to pursue the building, although Schuetz said the city would need to study whether its size and location would be a good long-term fit for the police department.

The property is located in one of the city's tax increment financing districts. If the city did end up buying the building, it would pull the property off the tax rolls, Schuetz said.

Last updated: 5:08 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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