A newly unveiled design for the proposed Madison’s Midtown police station will feature a modern design, but if history is any indicator, its construction remains uncertain.
Developers and Madison Police Department officials presented a design for the station that would create a new police district at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Midtown Thursday. Despite overwhelming community support and the station being on the current 2017 budget, its future remains uncertain given Mayor Paul Soglin’s continuing opposition to the $10 million investment.
Last year, the city narrowly approved funding for the police station, which will be built over the old Mount Olive Church on Mineral Point Road. The building, still in the early stages of concept development, would feature an underground parking garage and a solar panel roof.
Several police officials, including chief Mike Koval, attended the meeting to answer questions from local residents. The chief’s presence underscores the importance for MPD to have strong community support to counter any opposition during budget proceedings.
Koval has fought for the construction of the new station, which he sees as critical to relieving overburdened surrounding districts.
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When construction funding goes before the Board of Estimates in September, Ald. Tim Gruber, District 11, said the huge support by the local community will be invaluable. Despite having been cut from the budget two years in a row prior, Gruber said he’s hopeful this will be the year its construction is solidified. He said he also foresees strong council support.
“This is probably one of the main issues for the district I represent,” Gruber said. “I’m committed to seeing this through.”
Ald. Mark Clear, District 19, who also attended the meeting, said he’s encouraged by the progress made by city staff in recent months and approves of the concept art. But he agreed with Gruber that of greater concern than the design is its prospects before the Board of Estimates.
Gruber echoed the opinions of community members, who repeatedly agreed with statements about the boost in safety that would accompany the station. He said the station is needed to address a growing Madison population and the problems that will accompany it.
“I don’t see policing as the sole remedy to increased crime that comes with greater population but it’s one important aspect,” Gruber said.