Plans are moving forward to construct a new police station in Ridgefield as one part of an overall project to bring new construction to the city’s downtown for the first time in decades. The station is planned for the corner of Mill Street and Main Avenue and is by the development firm behind Rosauers.
Recently, Ridgefield City Council approved a lease agreement with FDM Development, Inc. for about $143,000 annually in rent to move the police department into the new building.
According to documents presented to council at the time of the June 13 lease approval, the department will occupy about 4,000 square feet of a 15,000-square-foot, three-story building. Of the occupied space, 2,900 square feet would be on the main floor, more than double of the current 1,300-square-foot station at 116 N Main Ave.
According to council information, the current police station was built in 1998 when the city had a population of only 1,800 — the city’s population is now approaching 9,000 according to the latest numbers from the state Office of Financial Management.
The current station lacks many needed safety features: there is no space for temporary prisoner holding, no interview room, no room to meet with the public, and no room to store property.
Dean Maldonado, principal developer for FDM Development, said that he still needs to have an agreement with the police department approved to get the project moving which he anticipated to happen after the first week in August. While that approval is in the works, he said architectural drawings will likely be complete by the end of that month, anticipating to break ground in October or November with a seven-month construction period.
The building will be a similar setup to the facility that houses city hall in Battle Ground where other private firms have office space in the building. Maldonado explained that housing both public and private tenants cuts down on cost as leases help to pay for operations.
Outside of the facility for the police station, the Mill and Main project will also feature another building on Mill Street, a 4,800-square-foot mixed use building. Maldonado anticipated that building to be more retail, with tenants filling it up after the police station facility was fully occupied by additional entities alongside the department.
Maldonado said that construction of the police station building would cost between $4.5 to $5 million, which, including the mixed-use building, would put the total project at $6 to $6.5 million.
According to Maldonado, the Mill and Main project would feature the first new buildings in downtown Ridgefield in more than two decades. He said the project was intended to give attention to development downtown while his firm undertakes work at the Discovery Ridge project at Pioneer Street and Royle Road.
“When you have fast growth in areas you can either help the downtown or you can hurt the downtown,” Maldonado remarked. “Our intent is to help.”