(C. Proxmire, June 24, 2013)
Ferndale Police and the staff of the 43rd District Court are busy with the moving process in preparation for the $2 million remodeling project to both facilities.
The remodeling was approved in April, and will give both the police headquarters and the court upgrades to make them safer and more efficient. For 12 years, the court has been setting aside a portion of traffic tickets to pay for the remodeling, so that none of the costs should come from the City’s general fund.
While the construction takes place, police business will be split between City Hall and the Hazel Park Police Station, which is where detainees will be held. City Hall will also be the temporary home of the court, with cases being held in Council Chambers. Some court staff will also be located in a separate office building up the street.
Court Administrator Marie Baker confirmed that cases will be heard in Council Chambers beginning July 2, and the move is expected to last 9 months to one year. Security features from the court building will be installed at City Hall, including the metal detectors. Baker said that the move will not affect city council meetings or city business. She added that the move is “great!”
The City has taken care to ensure the process is as transparent as possible, mainly by including an expense report with the City Council agenda. For June 24, figures were presented related to the move thus far. $75,000 has been allocated for the move. So far, $3,145.30 has gone to the relocation of police voice and network cable, and $11,000 has gone to Palmer Moving and Storage for their work in lugging the court equipment and furniture to the two locations.
The courthouse was built in the 1930s and was a mattress store prior to becoming a court. Several issues will be addressed by the remodel, including the proximity of the entrance and metal detectors to the courtroom, making the restrooms and witness stand wheelchair accessible, adding needed storage space, streamlining work area, providing a consultation room for attorneys to meet with clients, and repairs to the broken façade. The façade was damaged in 2011 when a car struck the front, destroying the decorative wooden slats.
The police station will have improvements mainly related to safety. The remodel will give police a more secure way to bring in prisoners, better air flow and ventilation for staff and prisoners, more storage space for evidence and files, a larger space for attorneys to meet with prisoners, and an improved reception area for the general public.
Read more about the remodeling project in our previous stories and see more pictures at: