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updated: 1/21/2014 7:19 PM

Glen Ellyn favors moving police department to Panfish Park

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If Glen Ellyn pursues plans for a new police station, village trustees say they would prefer it be built in Panfish Park.

The village has been discussing a new station for years in connection with a possible overhaul of its 85-year-old civic center, which houses both village offices and the police department.

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But faced with increasing overcrowding at the civic center, it appears officials are moving closer to making a new station a reality.

The three-story downtown structure at 535 Duane St. was built as a junior high school and purchased in 1970 from Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41.

The building no longer is large enough to house police and village offices, officials say, and they're looking for ways to solve the space crunch. Among the options are building a new station at two possible off-site locations.

A Virginia-based consultant, Dewberry, conducted a space analysis study in 2011 and found a number of deficiencies with the civic center building, including overcrowding, ventilation problems and "cross circulation" of police and public vehicles.

The consultants presented four plans this week ranging from smaller fixes like building an addition to the civic center to more significant renovations that would move the police department to a new location.

The two off-site options are Panfish Park at 620 Wilson Ave. in southeast Glen Ellyn and the Spring Avenue Recreation Center on the site of the existing Glen Ellyn Park District facility.

The Panfish Park project, which calls for a 37,000-square-foot police facility positioned on property owned by the village, comes with an estimated price tag between $13.4 million and $17.5 million. The Spring Avenue option would cost between $14.4 million and $18.6 million.

The plans to keep the police station at the civic center with upgrades and expansions to the structure would cost between $13.5 million and $16.4 million.

"I'm beyond any more remodeling plans for this site," Trustee Peter Ladesic said. "The police department is growing."

The board agreed that Panfish Park is the best off-site option because the village owns the land.

A move there also would leave room for the police department to have a gun range.

"We've looked at the range as one of the components at the police center as a profit possibility," Chief Phil Norton said. "We're talking about public use, not just to other police departments. We'd potentially have public training and public courses that would be a revenue center for us."

The village still must decide how to fund such a move.

Village Manager Mark Franz said there could be close to $10 million in the capital improvements fund available if other projects are deferred. Another possibility is using money from the downtown area's tax increment financing district. Grant money also is a possibility.

Village President Alex Demos said a referendum question would be another possibility, but it's "not a palatable option to me."

A committee was put together to investigate the option further and will present further details to the full board at a later meeting.

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