When D. Michael Collins popped into the Northwest District police station Monday, city workers splattered paint in surprise.
“They jumped up when I walked in,” Mayor Collins said. “I wanted to go over by myself and just take a look. The first thing they asked me was if I was by myself.”
The mayor during his campaign promised — among other things — to reopen the Northwest District police station on Sylvania Avenue within 100 days of taking office.
Mayor Collins said he saw no reason why the building wouldn’t be operational by April 1.
It was shuttered by former Mayor Mike Bell and former Police Chief Derrick Diggs on June 29, 2012.
Since that time, Toledo City Council rejected an offer from a charter school operator to buy the building and it also set aside $100,000 in 2013 for Mayor Bell to reopen the station.
Council allocated the money even after Mayor Bell promised it would sit in a city bank account because he had no intention of reopening it.
The time closed took its toll and it will cost up to $120,000 to renovate the building, Mayor Collins said.
City workers are painting, changing the floor plan by removing interior walls and a front counter, replacing floor coverings, and replacing a sump pump, the mayor said.
Mayor Collins said Police Chief Bill Moton will reassign police units to the building, including the special victims unit, the domestic violence unit, and traffic.
“There will be 30 to 35 officers there total,” said Mayor Collins, who was a police officer for 27 years before he was elected a district councilman.
Councilman Tom Wan-iewski, whose West Toledo district includes the station, said reopening the building would give a greater sense of security to neighbors.
“A building doesn’t solve crimes and a building doesn’t prevent crimes but I think there is a priceless value on the presence of the police station for the neighbors, so I am looking forward to bringing a sense of security back to the neighborhood,” Mr. Waniewski said.
He also toured the building while city workers toiled to make Mayor Collins’ April 1 deadline.
“They were tearing out a big front counter, taking out a couple of walls so there will be more rooms to process complaints,” Mr. Waniewski said. “The basement had some water damage but that was all cleaned up. ... There was also a termite infestation but that has been eradicated.”
Closing the building was largely a cost-cutting measure.
In 2011, maintenance for the building on Sylvania Avenue in West Toledo cost $26,357, electricity cost $10,601, and gas was $3,000. Under the same conditions, keeping it open from April 1 through Dec. 31, 2014, would cost nearly $30,000.
Mayor Collins also promised to hire 40 police officers every year for four years to cover attrition and reach his goal of 575 officers.