Alabaster planning to build new police station

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Council has taken the first steps toward making a new city police station a reality, after it voted in early September to approve a pair of contracts aimed at getting the project off the ground.

During their Sept. 10 meeting, council members voted unanimously to enter into contracts with the Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood company to conduct geotechnical and environmental studies on a few pieces of property near the intersection of U.S. 31 and the newly expanded Fulton Springs Road.

Through the contracts, the city will pay the firm $5,000 to provide environmental consulting services, and will pay the company $6,975 to conduct geotechnical studies on the land.

The property is at the southeast corner of Fulton Springs Road and U.S. 31, and if constructed, the new police station would front U.S. 31.

“This is the first time we’ve publicly acknowledged our intent to build a new police department, and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Ward 5 Councilman Russell Bedsole, who is a captain at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. “We are finally taking steps toward something we’ve needed for a long time.”

Alabaster’s current police station is near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Second Place Northwest, and has been in use since the 1950s. The police station was able to expand into the top floor of its current building after City Hall moved into its new location in 2015, but the aging building constructed several decades ago is struggling to meet the needs of a department serving nearly 30 times the population it did in the mid-20th century.

APD originally was set to get a new police station through an agreement between the city and the developer of the upcoming District 31 shopping center near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Interstate 65, but land constraints didn’t provide enough space for the new police station near the shopping center.

Now, the city is looking to build the station further down U.S. 31 on tracts of land owned by the city, Carmeuse Lime and a local developer.

Alabaster City Manager Brian Binzer said the pair of contracts approved on Sept. 10 will help the city better understand the construction costs associated with building on the land. Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood will drill multiple test bores on the property to determine how much rock is under the ground, and will study the environmental history of the land to ensure there are no underground gasoline tanks or similar items on the property.

“We would use both of these studies in our negotiations for purchasing the properties, if we choose to do so, so we don’t end up buying a piece of property we can’t use,” Binzer said.

Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood is set to have the results of the studies back to the city within 30 days.