Following the defeat last year of a bond issue for a community campus, which would have included a new city hall, community center, and police station at the former Sni-A-Bar Farms site currently owned by the City, the Board of Aldermen and City leadership have discussed at length options that might be palatable to voters and address issues at the current City Hall building. After months of discussions, the Board determined the most pressing priority is the need for a new police station. Hoefer Welker, an architecture, planning and interior design firm based in Leawood, Kansas, has been retained to develop plans for a proposed building to be placed behind the current Grain Valley Community Center.
The City recently announced a panel of citizens have been convened to form a study group to assist Hoefer Welker in the process. The study group includes 7 members, two representatives from each of the City’s three wards, and an at-large representative, Dr. Amanda Allen, principal at Grain Valley North Middle School.
Wayne Geiger, Andrew Powell, Lance Schefers, Maegan Spencer, Luis Virgil, and Jo Anne Wasson-Honeywell have been appointed to serve on the study group. The group met at the Community Center with representatives from Hoefer Welker on October 26th to set goals and a schedule of meetings and site visits to other metro area civic buildings to assist in developing a plan for Grain Valley.
In addition to ensuring the project is financially sound and accommodates growth projections for the City, the group agreed their goals also include developing a facility that best fits the needs of the Grain Valley community, serves the police department well, and is easily accessible.
Following their initial meeting, the group toured the current police station located in the City Hall building. Chief James Beale, escorted the group throughout the facility, noting the areas in which the current facility is lacking.
Besides the obvious deficits in terms of space for staff to meet, securely store files, and interview victims of crime in a private and comfortable space, Beale noted several areas of concern for the study group.
The lack of a cover in the sally port (a secured entry way) and stairs leading up to the doors to the processing and holding area present safety risks for officers and those in their care. Sheet rock walls in holding cells in lieu of brick or cinder block walls also present security risks, and substandard doors in holding cells have been fortified with additional locks after prior failures.
The reception area and windows lack bulletproof glass, and this limited space for case files to be securely stored. Detectives share small office spaces, creating a less than private and comfortable experience for victims to be interviewed, according to Beale.
The study group will next tour several police and civic buildings in the metro area to gather ideas for the proposed building in Grain Valley. A larger community event will be planned for citizens to learn more about the project and provide input.