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University City Rethinking Use of Delmar Firehouse as Police Station

City Manager Lehman Walker says the firehouse in Delmar has obvious structural problems and it makes no sense to move police into the building as fire officials move out.

University City is rethinking plans that would see the police department occupy the fire station behind City Hall .

City Manager Lehman Walker told University City Patch, "there are obvious structural problems with the building that the fire department currently occupies, which is why we are proposing to build a new fire station."

It was proposed that the takeover the fire station at 6801 Delmar, but Walker said it doesn't make sense to move the police into a facility that is unsafe.

Delmar facility "unsafe"

According to a 2009 FEMA grant application for a new firehouse, former University City Fire Chief Steve Olshwanger said the fire station had “extensive mold and mildew,” and was unsafe and uninhabitable because it was structurally unsound.

U City was awarded a grant to build a new firehouse at Westgate and Vernon Avenues. The fire department has asked the city to make up a funding shortfall of $674,494. Councilmembers will vote on the funding issue next month.

Exploring options

Walker said he'd like to see a new police station built on city owned property at Olive and Midland Boulevards. Walker said the spot is centrally located.

Last month, U City city councilmembers unanimously approved a motion giving city staff the go-ahead to pursue a cost study for the possibility of building a new police facility. Rough estimates put the cost of a new police station between five and six million dollars.

As to what would happen to the building currently housing police and fire, Walker said there are two options the City could look at.

  • Demolish the building
  • Restore it and, "seek adaptive re-use"

Walker said the city would discuss the entire situation with the Historical Preservation Commission and the community at large.

Gregory Pace October 13, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I guess if they say the annex is structurally unsound often enough that makes it so. No need to engage an actual structural engineer. Why did I waste all that time at Rolla? Apparently anyone can determine a structure's viability. No special training required. I wonder if the City Manager and the Fire Chief would let me drive an ambulance and administer treatment to a citizen in distress? I've seen a lot of medical dramas. Apparently they think that watching This Old House qualifies one as a structural expert. Oh my.
John Woodworth October 14, 2011 at 04:12 AM
Mr walker says one of the options for the building is to restore it seems like it could be restored for use as a police station. What am I missing.

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