The Village of Homer Police Department’s future move from its building on 43 James St. to Homer Town Hall on 31 N. Main St. is rolling along, according to Homer town supervisor Fred Forbes.
Forbes recently presented final plans to the Homer town board that shows how space will be shared between the Homer Police Department and the current senior center in the town hall basement.
The village police department used to call town hall its home base up until the mid-1980s. The department moved to the former village recreation building on South Main Street and stayed there until the early 2000s, according to village police chief Bob Pitman in the past.
Since then, the department has been housed at a former train station on James Street in the village. Pitman, who’s been the village police chief since 2016, noted last year that the building where the department is currently located is leased out to a third-party company and not owned by the village.
The architect hired by the town of Homer will now draw up a sketch plan for a reconfigured town hall basement and send it out to bid for contractors.
Discussions between Forbes and Pitman, along with village mayor Hal McCabe, have gone on for almost two years.
“It’s been kind of a long process, a lot of back-and-forth and getting the plans where they will accommodate the police department and the senior center,” Forbes said.
Forbes anticipates it will take about a month for contractors to put together a quote, and doesn’t believe anything substantial will be submitted for 60-to-90 days.
Once bids are received, Forbes estimated that a bid could be awarded before or during the month of May.
“A lot will depend on the price at that point in time and how we proceed,” he added.
The village police department will have “a little more” space than the senior center, Forbes said. The northside of the basement area will include a kitchenette and two new handicap restrooms.
The concept for Homer Police Department has a door that connects to the town courtroom. The senior center will also be used as a voting location, and a meeting area for the village and town board when they anticipate a large crowd, Forbes said.
For Forbes, having the police station in town hall makes the building “much safer.”
“We are the largest municipal building in the county without a police presence,” Forbes said. “Having the presence of police officers inside and outside of the building right here on Main Street is what we’ve wanted for quite some time.”
Pitman declined to further comment on the transition of his department, noting it’s in the planning stages.