Demolition creating space for Alabaster Justice Center

ALABASTER – While driving down Alabama 119 in Alabaster, it’s hard to miss the several piles of wood that have accumulated from the demolition of several residences and commercial businesses at Alabama 119 and 11th Avenue Southwest.

The Alabaster Justice Center will one soon be constructed on that land. Locally-owned Gray’s Tree Service provided demolition services to the city at a total cost of about $100,000. Over the next week or so, the land will be cleared so that grading can begin.

The city of Alabaster purchased 6.5 acres of land in the Siluria area for about $3.5 million to construct the Alabaster Justice Center. The center will serve as the headquarters for the Alabaster Police Department, which is currently operating out of two facilities.

City administrator Brian Binzer said the city hopes to break ground on the facility this summer with construction expected to take 12 months. The city’s design plans call for a 33,000-square-foot building that will allow all APD operations to be housed in one place.

“This is a long-term investment for the next 40-50 years,” Binzer said. “We’re taking into account the future needs of the city and designing a building that can easily be expanded if needed.”

The city is still in the design phase of the project, which is expected to take another three-to-four weeks. The city’s goal is to spend $15 million or less on the construction of the facility.

Original plans included relocating Alabaster Municipal Court, court clerks and magistrates to the justice center, but after further evaluation the city decided it was unnecessary.

“We’re leaving the court at City Hall,” Binzer said. “Moving it is not really needed and it helps keep costs down.”

With municipal court operations staying where they are, the city will save roughly $2 million.

The decision to locate the Alabaster Justice Center in the Siluria area was influenced by the city’s comprehensive plan that was adopted by the council in 2016. The comprehensive plan established a vision to revitalize the Siluria area by creating a city-center with mixed uses that tie into and enhance the Alabaster Senior Center and City Hall properties.

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 2013, 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.