Council approves bid for new police station; rezones Washington Fields parcel

A conceptual rendering of the new Washington City Police Station | Image courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – Construction of a new police station in Washington City will soon commence following the City Council’s approval of a bid for the project Wednesday.

Since the Police Department’s creation in the late 1990s, it has been housed in the converted office building at 95 E. Main St. The new building will cover 14,000 square feet and be built next to City Hall on 100 East. It will also have a look and color similar to its neighbor.

The City Council unanimously approved Watts Construction’s $2.6 million bid for construction of the new police station. Construction is anticipated to begin within the next 30 days.

“We’re growing up as a city,” Mayor Ken Neilson said following the meeting. “The growing up part includes issues – crime and everything like that. We’re striving to be safe as a city. This will add that dimension for us that we want.”

Washington City Police Chief Jim Keith, undated | Photo courtesy of Washington City, St. George News
Washington City Police Chief Jim Keith

The new building will provide much needed space for the Police Department, Neilson said, adding that it will likely not only add to the peace of mind and security for the downtown area, but the city overall.

Washington City Police Chief Jim Keith previously stated that the new building is expected to have a 40-year life span.

As for the fate of the old police station, Neilson said the city may use it in some other capacity, or possibly sell it.

General plan amendment for property at 2000 S. Washington Fields Road

The City Council also approved a general plan amendment changing a 3-acre parcel of land in the area of 2000 S. Washington Fields Road from potential neighborhood commercial to low-density residential use.

The change to residential use comes in the wake of repeated attempts by different commercial developers to make the property viable. Much of the time, the zone change needed to move ahead with these projects never made it past the City Council for various reasons.

City Councilman Thad Seegmiller noted the requested general plan amendment came from the city instead of a property owner, who is generally the source of such requests. Ultimately the City Council felt the best course of action for the parcel was to revert it to residential use.

Area residents attending the City Council concerning the 3-acre parcel applauded the decision to keep the area residential. On many prior occasions they expressed worries to the council concerning additional traffic, crime and other negative impacts they believed a commercial development would bring into the area.

Tentative 2015-16 budget adopted, public hearing scheduled

A resolution adopting a tentative budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year was approved by the council. The budget sports a $14.2 million general fund, with an overall fund of $52 million. A public hearing is set for March 27, with finally adoption of the budget set for June 10.

Physical copies of the tentative budget will be available for public review at the Washington City branch of the Washington County Library at 220 N. 300 East, and City Hall at 111 N. 100 East. The proposed budget is also available online at the city’s website.

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