I had one ear tuned in this afternoon to Phil Mendelson's hearing on space needs for the police department (a follow-up to the Sept. 20 barnburner
between him and Office of Property Management director Lars Etzkorn). This time it was Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert in the hot seat, and he stated that plans for using the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue
will be "finalized by the end of the year." He called the original plan to use 225 for the First Distrct police station, the evidence warehouse, and other MPD functions a decision by "a well-intentioned prior administration" that he can't advise the mayor to adopt. Mendelson disagreed strongly, and also said a number of times that if the eventual uses for 225 Virginia don't include any of the public safety agencies, then his committee has no jurisdiction, but that as a council member he will be very critical of any plans for the building that don't include the various urgent space needs of the police department.
Albert also talked about the plans for relocating the 1D station--it appears they have a location in mind, but Albert didn't want to discuss it in public. He did say that it is in Southwest, and that it is permanent space, not swing space. He also said that community leaders would be contacted for input before the plan is finalized. Despite skeptical questioning by Mendelson, Albert said that the timeline for a 2011 completion of the new Consolidated Forensics Lab at the current 1D location is still on schedule, and that with the 1D relocation sites being looked at, he's confident that 1D can be moved and built out without jeopardizing the planned start of construction on the lab in early 2009.
Mendelson is clearly frustrated with the decision not to use 225 Virginia, and with the run-arounds he feels he has received over the past few months (he had a long list of questions from the Sept. 20 hearing that he never received answers to), so it will be interesting to watch this continue to unfold.