September 10, 2013
The Albemarle County Police Department is looking into expanding its presence in the Crozet community, by turning the old Crozet Library building into a police substation. But not all community members think that's the best use of space for the building.
"I have mixed feelings whether that would be the best use of that property," said Crozet resident, Jim Duncan.
But officials say putting a satellite office in Crozet would be beneficial for the community by reducing emergency response times and allowing officers to get to know community members.
"If we have that facility in the community, we become part of the neighborhood and we are the neighbors," said Maj. Ron Lantz of the police department. The substation proposal is part of the department's "Geo-Policing Plan" to set up satellite offices in different parts of the county.
Albemarle County already owns the space and officials say it would be a cost efficient move for the police department.
"The good news for us is, it would not take a large makeover to make it police ready," Lantz said.
Along with constructing interview rooms and a locker room for officers, the building would need new doors and locks. Officials estimate a total cost registering around $350,000.
Lantz says the department would also like to preserve the history of the area, with the old train depot in particular. The lobby of the substation would serve as a tribute to the area, with old pictures and train memorabilia.
Some residents say they would like to see more police in the area, but say consistent patrols could serve that purpose without taking up the space.
"I think having them at various spots around Crozet at consistent times would be a good thing for the community to see that visual beat patrol," Duncan said.
There are several proposals on the table for how to use the old Crozet Library building. Ultimately, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will decide. There is no timetable for when a decision could be made.