Mayor’s Report as printed in Willoughby Times:
We continually review the condition and functionality of our municipal buildings, and one facility that has not had a significant upgrade is our Willoughby Police Station. At nearly fifty years old, the police station is undersized and functionally obsolete.
The current police station at 36700 Euclid Ave was evaluated in the fall of 2021 as part of a comprehensive Facility Program and Needs Assessment study conducted by Police Facility Design Group. The primary objectives of that study included defining the current and future space needs, evaluating the condition of the existing station, determining the feasibility of retrofitting the existing station, and the logistics and cost estimates to construct a new facility. This report concluded that the building would be costly and difficult to renovate and expand.
One option the city considered for a new facility included a possible Public-Private Partnership with a developer. In a PPP, the developer would construct and lease the building to the city for a given period, after which the city would take ownership of the building. This option was considered too costly.
This summer, we learned that the Meister Media Worldwide building, located at 37733 Euclid Avenue, was for sale. Meister is a longtime supporter of Willoughby and our Police Department, and they agreed to sell their headquarters to the city at its appraised value. The property is in excellent condition, in a centralized location, and with proper renovation and expansion, it could provide a more cost-effective solution while still meeting the needs of the police department. On September 20th, City Council approved legislation to enter a purchase agreement for the Euclid Ave property for $2,545,000.
Once a purchase agreement is secured, the city’s administration will continue its due-diligence period for 60 days to identify needed modifications, determine a proposed budget and financing requirements, and establish a project timeline. Richard L. Bowen and Associates, based in Cleveland, Ohio, conducted an architectural assessment and fit plan of the site along with estimated construction costs for renovation and expansion to meet the current and future needs of the Willoughby Police Department. By the conclusion of the due diligence period, city officials, with professional guidance from Bowen, will confirm the space will meet all needs within an acceptable budget and determine if it is necessary to ask the voters for support for a new police facility.
Safety and law enforcement is a top priority for the administration and City Council, and we look forward to determining if the renovation of the Meister building can provide the Willoughby Police Department with a facility to last for the next fifty years. As Chief Jim Schultz stated, “A new facility incorporating new technology, improved efficiencies, and better use of space will allow our department to maintain the quality of services our residents and businesses expect.”
In the upcoming months, we will host community meetings to discuss our progress on the project. The confirmed dates, times, and locations of these meetings will be listed on our website.