MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- Taxpayers in Marshalltown have voted to approve a bond to build a more than $17.5 million public safety facility that will house a new police station as well as a fire station.
"Structurally, it`s just falling apart, quite frankly," said Chief Michael Tupper of the Marshalltown Police Department. "It`s an old building. This basement has water leaks. We frequently have not just flooding of rainwater in the basement, but we`ve had sewage backups, sewage problems, in the basement. The difficult challenge for that is the 911 center for all of Marshall County is in the basement of this building, and there`s a lot of very expensive equipment in there and obviously we don`t want to be flooded out in an emergency especially."
The police department can't even use half of the second floor because it's in such bad shape, and the chief says the building as a whole simply is not safe.
"There`s no security in this building. It`s not really a safe structure for my staff to work in," said Chief Tupper. "When we arrest people and bring them in here for processing, we don`t have a secure place to separate the suspect from civilian employees or cops or even citizens that are coming in to do other business in the building. I also can`t guarantee, if we have someone in this building, we`re going to be able to hold onto them because we just lack security altogether."
And there's not enough space for investigators to do their work.
"The thing that`s always bothered me about this building is if we have a crime victim come in here, say a sexual assault victim, I can`t even offer that person a private location for the detective to talk to that victim," said Chief Tupper. "That should not occur."
The mayor says the community understands that it's time to build something new.
"The longer we put this off, the more expensive it's going to be for us, construction costs are going to continue to go up, the cost of money will probably continue to go up and so putting it off for someone else to worry about down the road just didn't make sense," said Marshalltown Mayor James Lowrance.
The next step is for the community to work with an architect on a design for the new facility.
It will likely be two to three years before the new facility is built.