The Athens Economic Development Corporation Board on Tuesday took up the question of what can be done to build a new police station and how the AEDC can help in the process.
"I think at some point we need to start building something to show the police department we're actually trying," said Will Traxson, AEDC Board President.
Items on the board agenda included possible action concerning the development of a Police Station Steering Committee and possible action concerning the Requests for Qualifications for Police Station Facilities.
Athens Mayor Monte Montgomery, City Manager Elizabeth Borstad and some council members were also present for the discussion.
No action was taken on the agenda items, but all who spoke agreed that building a new police station or significantly upgrading the current one is a priority.
"I'm just glad that everyone in this room is together that we need a police department," Montgomery said.
Montgomery said funding a new police station should come through a bond election. A few years ago the city council was looking into constructing a municipal building that would include a new police headquarters, city offices and a council chamber.
"When you're dealing with something, I'm thinking $7 million or $8 million, it has be the vote of the people," Montgomery said.
According to the mayor, one alternative idea would be to strip the current PD building down to the structural steel and expand to the north at its current location. Montgomery said there is plenty of room to do that.
AEDC board member Randy Jones said he would like to see the city take the lead in the project.
"I would like to see the AEDC step in as a partner to whatever extent we could do," Jones said.
Councilwoman Toni Clay said if the AEDC is willing to help with some kind of facilities planning, she would agree to it.
"If there is something we can do to bring in some expertise to help us find the best way forward, I think we need to determine that," Clay said.
She said she would like the city to use a property it currently owns for any new police station construction and avoid the expense of acquiring new property.
Montgomery said the city council will put the future of the police station on their next agenda.