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Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:20

Sylva crunching budget to pay for police department move

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Renovating the old library on Main Street in Sylva for a new police department is on something of a hiatus until a new town board convenes.

The town board will get a new member following this month’s elections. Lynda Sossoman will replace current town Commissioner Ray Lewis. Sossoman said Monday that she fully supports the renovation of the old library for a town police department.

Town leaders must identify where the estimated $700,000 needed for the job will come from, interim Town Manager Mike Morgan said.

“The next thing we would want is to get an architect to do detailed plans — but (commissioners) are not there, yet,” he said.

Until then, the 15-member town police — counting only fulltime employees — will continue to squeeze into the current police department on Allen Street. The officers share just 1,000 square feet. The old library is 6,400 square feet in size.

Jackson County owned the old library, but agreed to a property swap at the town’s request earlier this year. The county gave Sylva the old library building on Main Street, and in exchange the town gave the county the former chamber of commerce building on Grindstaff Cove Road.

As takes place currently, any prisoners detained by police will be transported immediately to the county jail at the administration building instead of being held at the police department.

Sylva merchants have repeatedly requested a greater presence by town police on Main Street. In addition to the prospect of having the department located physically there, a new police officer was recently assigned to foot patrols downtown.

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