By LESLIE COLLINS
November 27, 2013
To celebrate the upcoming construction of the East Patrol Division Station/Crime Lab campus, city officials hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 19 at the future site.
Several city officials thanked residents affected by the project for their sacrifice and Kansas City Board of Police Commissioner Alvin Brooks called it a “bittersweet day.”
In preparation for construction, the city acquired more than 150 parcels and 60 homes.
Brooks said he had fond memories of the neighborhood and married his sweetheart at 2632 Park, which has now been torn down as a result of the project. Brooks spoke of the positives, stating the project could spur additional economic development along the Prospect corridor.
“This is a good thing east of Troost,” Brooks said of the project. “We just hope that the sweet will outshine the bitterness.”
Boundaries of the 17-acre site include Prospect Avenue on the east, Brooklyn on the west, 26th Street on the north and 27th Street on the south. The $74 million project is being funded through the Public Safety Sales Tax, which voters renewed in 2010, and is expected to be completed during the winter of 2015-2016.
In addition to an updated police station, the site will also feature a state-of-the-art crime lab, a property and evidence depository and a computer lab and community conference room available to the public.
“Built in 1949 as the police department’s FM radio station, the current East Patrol building has many structural issues and is too small for community needs,” said Darryl Forté, Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) chief. “The current crime lab is housed in a former pharmaceutical lab, has security and fire suppression issues, and is far too small for the employees and caseload, according to national accreditation standards.”
The new crime lab will allow KCPD to process evidence more expediently, he said.
Kansas City City Council member Melba Curls called it an unprecedented investment in the 3rd District and said the project will have a concrete, positive effect in the area.
“This will serve as a catalyst for Prospect and a vision for the neighborhoods,” Kansas City City Council member Jermaine Reed said.
Reed stressed that the project is being governed by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 3 guidelines and will provide job opportunities for low income residents and community businesses.
Kansas City City Council member John Sharp summed it up by saying, “I think we’re on the right track with this, and it’s going to be a great asset to this community and this part of town.”