At the suggestion of Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway, a new police department building could be built on undeveloped property at Ellis Street and Railroad Avenue downtown.
Calloway made the suggestion to consider the Ellis Street site at a special town council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
“We are looking at property the Town owns. It’s about 2.5 acres, with plenty of room,” Calloway told the Coastal Point.
“It is off a state-maintained roadway. It is downtown, which is certainly good and what we want. It could take a couple years to build it,” he said.
Calloway said the building will be planned “to last longer — as long as it possibly can.”
“We have to be able to accommodate for growth and really think this process out,” he said.
Police officers are in cramped quarters in the current building, at 307 Main Street. They would have to wait for the new building to be constructed. Calloway said it’s easy to point out possible problems and delays, “but that doesn’t help.”
“We will work around it. Right now, we have to plan how large the building will be and we have to determine the cost. We have looked at the property next to our police department. It is a potential location, but there are issues. There are the off-site costs. Where it is, we’ve got to look at street signs and sidewalks, because it’s a DelDOT-maintained roadway, and it would cost more. We looked at Town Hall to transition for both departments, and that wasn’t perfect either. We would have plenty of room at Town Hall, but [space for administrative offices] would be much smaller and it was going to restrict their growth,” Calloway said.
Town Manager Sheldon Hudson said the site at Ellis Street was embraced by council members.
“The nice thing about the Ellis Street property is it is Town-owned. At one point, the Town thought about using it for water plant expansion, but the new water plant is being built on the north side of town. In square feet, the building will be larger than what they have now, but there is a question about what elements it will have — a sally port, training room — what would be viewed by the chief as essential vs. nice to have. That is what the consultant, Mike Wigley of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc. in Salisbury, are working through now,” Hudson said.
At the Sept. 29 special council meeting, council members agreed that no more than $5 million would be spent for a new police department building after Councilman Tim Hodges said, “It does not make sense to have a Taj Mahal to live in and not be able to pay your bills.”
“I’m not here to dig a hole financially for this town. I think we live within our means or we don’t do anything at all. Our first priority has to be the police department,” Hodges said.
Hudson said council members are firm about not exceeding that $5 million cap and that he appreciates their conservative budgeting, considering other public-works projects are being planned.
“We want to be sure those are well-funded in years to come. I think we can achieve that,” he said.
No action had been taken in recent months on original plans, discussed 15 months ago, for a new, two-story building with barn-type design, known as The Gateway. It was expected to open in 2021, or 2022 at the latest.