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New public safety building on horizon for Polson

POLSON – City staff and commissioners agree: the city needs a new public safety facility. 

The commission and members of city staff met for a strategic planning workshop last Monday. The top agenda item was the public safety building. The police and fire departments have outgrown their current facilities, and city staff anticipates that a growing population in the city will necessitate further expansion of the departments in the future. The commission hopes to make improvements to city hall in tandem with the construction of the public safety building.

City Manager Mark Shrives said that city staff wanted to hold the workshop in order to establish a more concrete idea of the commission’s priorities, so that staff members could begin working to accomplish them. No action was taken at the meeting. 

Polson Police Chief Wade Nash suggested three methods for obtaining a new space for the public safety building. The city could purchase or rent an existing building to refurbish for the city’s needs. Shrives said that the city has identified a building in the city that could potentially be purchased. The other option would be to build a new building on land that the city owns – potentially on land that formerly housed the city’s soccer fields. City staff and commissioners agreed that constructing a new facility would be the best option for the city.

City staff has started to look into the costs of building a new building, and was given a quote of more than $8 million for the project. Nash called this version of the building  “the Taj Mahal,” and said that it was “unrealistic,” that taxpayers would be willing to cover the cost of a building that expensive. City staff agreed that they could adjust their expectations to reduce the cost of the building. 

The discussion concluded when the commission agreed that they would like city staff to work on a proposal so that construction of a new public safety building can be presented to the public for a vote. They set a tentative date for that vote for May of 2019.

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