Share This Article
The Mountain Home Police Department may be getting a new police station.
During Thursday’s City Council meeting, Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams presented a letter of intent from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to purchase the Mountain Home Police Department’s current station at 424 West 7th Street.
The $1,118,000 offer, which includes $898,000 in cash and seven acres of property located at 187 Hilltop Lane and Highway 412/62 that is currently valued at $220,000, would then allow the City of Mountain Home to move forward with the purchase of the former Bank of America building at 650 South Street in the heart of downtown Mountain Home.
Mountain Home’s Police Department is currently appraised at $1,000,053.
The 605 South St. property is currently being leased to AGFC, which is using the location at its Mountain Home field office. AGFC Commissioner Rob Finely owns the property through his business, F5 Investments, LLC. It is appraised at $1.35 million.
The City has offered F5 Investments $500,000 in cash alongside the seven acres of property located at 187 Hilltop Lane and Highway 412/62.
City Council approved to accept AGFC’s letter of intent to purchase the MHPD property. They also approved for Adams to make an offer to purchase the 605 South St. property. The purchase of the South St. property is contingent on the AGFC purchase going through.
AGFC will meet on Feb. 15 to formally make an offer to the City of Mountain Home.
“They had a meeting here in May of last year in town. They’ve been looking for a new home,” said Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams Thursday evening. “They bought some property to the west of town and that was one of the things they looked at. Then when they met in May, the director and deputy director visited some spots here in town trying to come up with another option. One of those options is the current location of the Mountain Home Police Department.”
If this three-way deal goes through, the 605 South St. property would give the Mountain Home Police Department a central location in the heart of the downtown Mountain Home to work out of, as well as an additional 3,000 square feet for its officers to set up shop in.
The bank building vaults would also offer a more secure evidence locker for the MHPD to work with.
“It’s an extra 3,000 square foot,” Adams said. “And then to get our police department centrally located in town… it would be right in the heart of downtown. I think that’s something that would make us much more visible in the community and expose the police department out there. We have people right now who don’t even know where it is or how to get to it.”
While the bank building is in good condition, the city would be required to renovate the building to meet the needs of MHPD. That renovation would cost around $750,000 to $775,000.
Roughly $400,000 would be left over from the sale of MHPD’s 424 West 7th Street station, leaving some $375,000 in remaining renovation costs. Adams said the city would cover the remaining costs by tapping into the $500,000 unappropriated funds remaining in the city’s public safety fund.
Both the city and AGFC have worked out a deal for both agencies to share the 424 West 7th Street station while the renovations are completed. AGFC would take over MHPD’s large conference room and gym in the deal.
“We’ve talked to AGFC about it. They pretty much believe they could operate out of those two rooms,” Adams said. “Some of their people have the ability to work from home. A lot of their officers are out on the road every day and don’t need that space right away.”
Reaction from City Council to the proposed three-way deal was positive, with several members noting that they may never receive an offer like this again.
City Councilman Bob Van Haaren noted that the average cost of building a new police station in the United States was $580 per square foot, and that the current deal would allow them to get the new station for $85 per square foot.
“Even if we do that and cut it in half at $290 a square foot, to build a police station, we’re looking at a value of $4.35 million to build a police station at the same value of our purchase rate,” Van Haaren said. “We’re looking at $85 per square versus even if you split the national average to $290. We’re saving two-thirds of the cost even if you split the national average in half.”
If AGFC votes to make the offer official on Feb. 15, City Council will likely vote to accept during their regular meeting on the same day.