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Study: Get new police station

(ran LA edition )

Consultants say this city may need a new police station.

City Manager Steven Stanton said he expects to officially receive sometime this week a report from architects suggesting it may not be cost-efficient to expand the police station at 100 East Bay Drive.

"The study says the building does not meet our needs," Stanton said. "It suggests that we ought to take another look before pouring more money into the building."

Among the alternatives, Architects Design Group in Winter Haven will recommend that the city:

Build a new police station.

Combine a new police station with a proposed new fire station that is to be built on Cleveland Avenue behind City Hall.

Move the existing police station to another lot where adequate expansion could occur.

Buy an existing building and convert it into a police station.

Real estate agents already are bombarding City Hall with properties for sale. Among those most frequently mentioned are the former Handi-City Building on Missouri Avenue and a former bank building at West Bay Drive and Clearwater/Largo Road.

Police Chief Richard Kistner said it has even been suggested to him that he move the police station into the former Taylor packing plant across the street. The former plant, built in the 1930s, is being demolished to make way for Largo Central Park.

Several years ago, the city added a second story to the police station. The second floor, however, was left as a shell and never completed.

Since the police department has outgrown the first floor, city officials agreed to hire an architectural firm to design a completed second floor. The recommendations to perhaps look at another alternative are a result of the firm's study.

Commissioner Jim Miles said he favors combining new fire and police stations into one building on Cleveland Avenue. For several years, the city has been buying property on the street for a new fire station.

As for the existing police station, Miles said it should be sold.

"It's going to cost us an arm and a leg to do anything more with it," Miles said.

Stanton said it is too soon to speculate on the architects' recommendations.

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