Log In

Reset Password

Palmerton to look into building new police station

Palmerton may choose to build a new police station, provided it would be fully funded through a grant.

On a unanimous measure, borough council on Thursday agreed to look into building a new station.

Councilman Cory Kepner said Keystone Consulting Engineers recently recommended new construction, and noted there could be grants available.

Kepner then made a motion to contact St. Luke’s about the possible acquisition of the property at the former Palmerton Hospital on Lafayette Avenue.

However, Councilman Kris Hoffner said that may be putting the cart before the horse.

Hoffner then suggested possibly looking into the far east-end of the Northface Development in Palmerton, the site of the former New Jersey Zinc West Plant, which he said is not in a residential area.

Councilwoman Holly Hausman-Sell said council needed to determine if it wants to go with a new building, a new site, or if it was looking to do those simultaneously.

Kepner said that the location of the St. Luke’s property is probably more centralized than where the station is now.

Councilman William Gallagher said his primary concern was that police would be passing two churches and two schools.

However, borough police Chief Tim Kromer said that police respond now at the second most dangerous intersection in a school zone.

Either way, Gallagher said the topic is a “very complex situation.”

Borough Manager Autumn Canfield said that Keystone Consulting Engineers said it’s better to build a new police station at this point with the availability of grants.

Canfield added that the consensus was to go for a new building rather than renovations to its existing station.

Kepner stressed the magnitude of the situation, and said it was a serious undertaking “that requires a major commitment from all of us.”

Hausman-Sell offered that while “everybody would like the biggest and the best, the borough is a small community.”

Councilman Andrew Hollywood told council “at some point, we’re going to have to make a decision to go one way.”

“The committee recommended new construction,” Hollywood said. “New construction is going to be the answer.”

It was stated that the cost for a potential 5,000-square-foot building would be about $1 million.

After the meeting, Kromer said “the plan is to look around the borough for other possible locations, either borough-owned or easily attainable for us to look at for a better location.”

Last month, council agreed to have Keystone Consulting Engineers conduct a professional walk-through to complete the list of police building priority projects at a cost of around $500.

Before that vote, Kepner said he would like to see a feasibility study for either an addition, or a stand-alone separate building.

The borough has been looking at the possibility of reclaiming space rented by Carbon County’s Area Agency on Aging for use for its police department.

The Carbon County Area Agency on Aging is located on the third floor at 401 Delaware Ave.

Council has discussed long-term plans for the police department, and whether it can remain at its site inside the Municipal Services Building at 401 Delaware Ave, where the station is located.

Kepner previously said the key is trying to find adequate space, and added he believes a new facility would be the easiest and most streamlined approach to take.

Palmerton Borough Council on Thursday agreed to pursue looking into building a new police station. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO