Millsboro aims funds at downtown, eyes new police building (copy)

Millsboro's police department has been in need of some new digs. The question has been where to put them. Now, the Town has made a decision on the location for the upcoming project.

The Millsboro Town Council has approved proceeding with plans to build a new police station on undeveloped property at Ellis Street and Railroad Avenue downtown.

Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway made the suggestion to consider that site at a special town council meeting in November of 2020.

At 8,000 square feet, the new building would be about twice the size of the existing one on Main Street and, at the direction of the town council, would not cost more than $5 million.

“I am thrilled that council could agree on the proposed plans for the police station,” Millsboro Mayor Michelle Truitt told the Coastal Point after the Wednesday, Feb. 17, special meeting to discuss the matter.

“We have worked very hard over the past few years to be wise stewards of taxpayers’ money while being conscious of our operational needs. We take great pride in our town and don’t make our decisions lightly, because they are impactful and long lasting,” the mayor said.

Town Manager Sheldon Hudson said council members had asked engineers for more detailed drawings. If bids are less than $5 million, there could be additions to the building, including a sally port, classroom space, fitness room, larger locker area or basketball court.

“I’m pleased with this step forward. I hope they break ground as soon as possible,” Calloway said, adding that it’s too soon to know when that will happen, or when construction will begin.

“Certainly, anything in government takes time. You have to have patience. With this, it’s taking time, but I am very pleased as to where we are going,” he said, adding assurance that the nationally accredited agency he leads will continue to fully function in the existing building and when it’s time to move, it will be done with no pause in service.

“We will still be doing the same as we have been doing,” Calloway said.

“A basketball court could be added later,” he explained.

“The Fruitland [Md.] Police Department has one, and the community likes it. There is enough space on that parcel here in Millsboro to put a basketball court, but that would be an alternate add-on. We are also looking at a sally port — it’s a garage for police cars to use when they have a detainee. That is also an add-on. We also looked at maybe more locker room space to extend the life of the building for staff,” the chief said.

If a basketball court is built, it would be open to the public and the Town would try to secure non-profit funding, Hudson said.

Once vacated, the existing police station could be used by the Town. Its former uses include a post office before the police department moved in, in 1997.

During the past year or two, there has been discussion about what to do with both town hall and the police station, with ideas including building a new town hall downtown and renovating existing town hall for the police department.

But Hudson said it appears town hall will remain at the current Wilson Highway location. Council members will decide what to do with land on Main Street next to the existing police station, where a new town hall was originally planned. Hudson said it could become a small, nicely landscaped, park with benches and possibly a fountain.

“That is something we need to revisit. I can see that being something we talk about at the budget work session. Right now, all eyes have been on the police department,” the town manager said.

The council is expected to again discuss the police department at a special meeting, likely in April.

Staff Reporter

Veteran news reporter Susan Canfora has written for many newspapers and held positions ranging from managing editor to her favorite, news reporter. She joined the Coastal Point in June 2019. She teaches college writing, tutors and professionally edits.