‘Long road to get here’: Lake in the Hills breaks ground on new police station

The Lake in the Hills Police Department broke ground on its new facility Friday afternoon.

Village board and community members, and police and village staff celebrated the occasion with cake and cookies after the ceremonial groundbreaking with police chaplain Mark Wood giving the invocation.

The police station needed about twice the space it has at its current location, according to previous Northwest Herald reporting.

Lake in the Hills Village President Ray Bogdanowski and police Chief Mary Frake also spoke at the event.

“The infrastructure we build today must support the next generation of residents and businesses,” Bogdanowski said.

Frake thanked the community, the architects and construction team, village staff and the board, as well as her colleagues.

“We have become experts at repurposing spaces,” Frake said, before telling her colleagues: “Thank you for your patience. It has been a long road to get here.”

Lake in the Hills police Chief Mary Frake speaks at a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony Friday at the new police station. Claire O'Brien/Shaw Media

The facility comes with an estimated $26.5 million price tag. Previous estimates were in the $22 million ballpark, but the village board last month approved a construction cost of about $23 million as part of a guaranteed maximum price of $26.5 million.

Bogdanowski said the price tag at one point had been $29 million.

“We don’t take light that we’re spending lots of money to do this,” Bogdanowski said.

The new station will be located next door to Lake in the Hills Village Hall at 600 Harvest Gate.

The new station will be in the 2600 block of Village Hall Drive, west of Randall Road behind the Costco in Lake in the Hills.

The current police station is at 1115 Crystal Lake Road, in a residential neighborhood east of Randall Road. Its location in a residential neighborhood makes it harder for the police to respond in an emergency, according to previous Northwest Herald reporting.

“We knew it wasn’t going to last forever,” Bogdanowski said of the old building.

Despite the price tag, officials said the community has been very supportive of the station. Matthew Mannino, Lake in the Hills police deputy chief of support services, said the police department received many positive comments on Facebook when the groundbreaking was announced.

The police department and village hall moved to the space on Crystal Lake Road in 1992, but the village moved to its Harvest Gate location in 2002. In 2005, FGM Architects conducted a space analysis on the public works department, village hall and the police station, according to the village’s website.

FGM had recommended renovations and building expansion projects for the police station.

Years later, in 2019, the village had FGM do another space study at the police station. FGM came back in late 2019 with a presentation to the village board, which recommended an addition to village hall for the police station.

Village officials have said the new police station won’t cost taxpayers any additional money.

Bogdanowski said Friday taxes won’t need to be increased because of the station, and funds mostly are coming from the village’s savings. He added, the village has paid off its pension debt, which frees up additional funds to go toward the station.

At an Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce breakfast in the fall, Bogdanowski said the police department didn’t have separate locker rooms for men and women until last year, which he called “sort of embarrassing.”

As part of the construction, the Veterans Memorial that currently stands east of village hall will be relocated on the property.

Friday’s groundbreaking comes years after Lake in the Hills officials had begun working on the project. In March 2022, the village posted a video on its YouTube channel featuring police officers explaining problems with the current station, such as not having a dedicated area to process evidence for crimes.

The village board approved the funding plan in July 2022. Officials expect construction of the new station to conclude by the fall or winter of 2025.

“It’s actually coming to life,” Mannino said.

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