Former army reserve building to be renovated, potentially used by Springfield police

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Springfield is eyeing a former army reserve center under its ownership to be potentially used to house some operations associated with the city’s police division.

The Downs U.S. Army Reserve Center, bordering West High Street and Dayton Avenue, has been in the city’s possession for approximately 10 years.

City administrators are looking to renovate the former army reserve center, with that work slated to start sometime this year. The goal is to potentially house some operations of the police division as space is limited at the Public Safety Building on North Fountain Avenue.

Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck said that the project has not been put to bid for contractors yet and the city is determining the costs of renovations as well as which police operations could be housed at Downs once renovations are completed.

“We evaluated our operations as an organization and where were there needs for an expansion of space and the immediate need is within the Police Division. They are really land locked, office locked per se, in terms of the Public Safety building located in downtown. Looking to provide additional space for those operations is important,” Heck said.

The Police Division will still be held at its current location, but some operations or personnel associated may be moved to the Downs. The building is owned and maintained by the city and has to be used for municipal purposes as was stated when they took possession of it from the federal government.

Some of the space inside the former army reserve center is being utilized by the city’s Fire/Rescue Division for training purposes and that is not expected to change in the future.

Some of the money from a Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) grant awarded to the city will be used towards the renovations at the former army reserve center.

Springfield City Commissioners this week voted to authorize the application for and acceptance of a 2022 Energized Community Grant through NOPEC in an amount of up to $61,782 to be used for the implementation of energy savings or energy infrastructure measures.

Downs was also previously considered in a plan to create more semi congregant emergency shelter in the city. Talks in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic centered on converting 11,000 square feet of the facility into shelter that could house as many as 50 people.

However, city officials had trouble getting that project started as they ran into issues regarding the conversation of the former army reserve center for that use.

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