Using an “aggressive timeline that assumes no delays,” Merced city officials said they could acquire a new location for the next police station by mid-2017.
The city’s staff has begun negotiations with the representatives of McClatchy Co., the news company that owns the Merced Sun-Star and its 3033 G St. office building. The Sun-Star’s leadership has said the news source is looking for another location in town.
The city is beginning the process to sell its land at Yosemite Avenue and Mansionette Drive, which was previously marked for the next station, and to tag the G Street property as its next station.
City leaders have said repeatedly they want the Mansionette property to be retail space. But, before selling the land, the city must notify agencies related to housing, schools and recreation, according to Frank Quintero, the city’s economic development director.
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I’m pleased to see we have a plan of action moving forward here. That’s good to see.
Councilman Michael Belluomini
That part of the process could be ongoing for 60 days. “If one (agency) does decide to respond to the notice, then we have to extend good-faith negotiations for 90 days, so that could total up to 150 days, maybe more,” he said at the Monday meeting.
The City Council is obligated to listen only to pitches from those agencies, according to staff members. The city is allowed to factor in the proposed land use before awarding it to a bidder, according to acting City Attorney Jolie Houston.
The city and its Planning Commission would also have to complete zoning changes and make a general plan amendment, technical steps that are legally required to move the station to G Street, according to the city’s staff.
Councilman Noah Lor, who was absent Monday, said at a previous meeting that the city should do a traffic study before finalizing the move to G Street.
Quintero said the city plans to look at whether changes to the roadway are necessary for patrol cars headed north from the G Street site. There is a median on G Street in front of the building.
$25 millionApproximate price to build new police station in Merced
“We would make that part of the very long escrow,” he said.
Leaders have said they would likely have to ask voters to support a bond measure to finance work needed on the G Street site. A bond measure for a specific project would require a 55 percent vote for approval, according to the Merced County Registrar’s Office.
The cost of a police station that could serve a city the size of Merced is about $25 million, according to City Manager Steve Carrigan.
Councilman Michael Belluomini said he approves of the proposed plans.
“I’m pleased to see we have a plan of action moving forward here,” he said. “That’s good to see.”