The village of West Liberty has purchased a building to house its police headquarters, ending months of deliberations and negotiations.
Village Council members agreed to buy the building at 111 Runkle St. The council had looked at a number of buildings within village limits, finally settling on the Runkle site because of its proximity to the downtown area.
Plans were announced in 2014 to move the police station because of problems with the existing building. West Liberty Police Chief Shane Oelker was asked to start looking at options.
“The building that we had been in … wasn’t an adequate facility,” Oelker said. “Finally, after a lot of discussion and input from the community and with the council, we made a decision to purchase an existing building to renovate.”
The West Liberty Police Department’s station at 201 N. Detroit St. — once a private residence — was built in the 1800s and is considered one of the oldest buildings in the village.
The property was purchased by the village in the mid-2000s, and not much renovation was done to it when the department moved in stated Oelker.
“The house (office) that we were in just wasn’t suitable to store evidence in, wasn’t suitable to conduct interviews and things like that in,” Oelker said. “This new building will be able to have those necessary facilities put in.”
The village has confirmed that engineering contracts have been signed and that mostly interior renovations will be done, with some minor exterior renovations planned for security purposes.
It is unclear at this point when the renovations will be completed, stated Oelker.
“I would hope that maybe by the first of next year we would be in, maybe sooner,” he said.
The department is currently operating out of a small room behind the library until renovations are completed on the new building.