MIDTOWN DISTRICT POLICE STATION

Madison Police Chief, Mike Koval, speaks during the groundbreaking for the Midtown District Police Station Wednesday.

PHOTO BY MICHELLE STOCKER

Outside of Sue Reynard’s window sits a dirt pit and parts of a demolished church building, but it will soon be the site of the Madison Police Department's Midtown District police station.

She is the closest neighbor to the new station, located at Mineral Point Drive and Westmorland Boulevard on the west side, and while she is looking forward to the end of noisy construction, Reynard said she is very excited to see progress on the station.

“The neighbors adjacent are quite pleased (the project is) something stable that is not going away,” Reynard said.

The city of Madison bought the lot at 4020 Mineral Point Rd., formerly the site of Mount Olive Lutheran Church, in March 2014 with the aim of building a new station that would alleviate burdens on the existing stations, particularly the West District.

“We’re very pleased today to be here utilizing a piece of property that has sat idle for quite some time, and putting it to good use for the midtown area of the city of Madison,” Mayor Paul Soglin said at the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.

Soglin said the new police station comes at a critical time as the city and police department are dealing with the challenges of the opioid epidemic and availability of firearms.

“With this new station, we’re going to have an opportunity to deal with these challenges and throughout the work of the men and women on the Madison Police Department, we are going to take on these challenges to create a safer city,” Soglin said.

Chief Mike Koval said the new station will help the MPD distribute its services more equitably and responsively throughout the city.

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“It was time, it was appropriate and we were ready and willing to understand what that growth meant to the city, particularly to the west side, and to try to carve that duty up,” Koval said.

Construction began at the beginning of September, and the new station is expected to be ready by August 2018.

The approximately $10.5 million station fomented controversy between Soglin and City Council alders during debate over the 2017 budget. Soglin previously proposed pushing construction on Midtown to 2018 and did not include funds to operate the station in his 2017 budget. Through amendments, alders included construction for this year in addition to operating funding.

“I think (Soglin) saw (Midtown) as the investment that was going to ultimately be needed,” Koval said. “We may have disagreed about how soon we needed it, but we’re here today.”

In this year’s proposed budget, Soglin included $700,000 in operating funding and $295,000 in his proposed capital budget for vehicles and related equipment. The City Council is expected to vote on the budget during the week of Nov. 13.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.