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Wakarusa moves forward with converting old bank building into police station


At Tuesday’s town council meeting, the Wakarusa Town Council approved the Phase II Contract with the design group planning the renovation of the former Key Bank building into the police department.

Still, some community members are continuing their concern over the location.

“If the town is really interested in growing like they say they are, they need to stay with what they’ve got and get back to maybe moving in a pharmacy or grocery store and bring in some type of service that everybody uses every day,” says Ab Brown, who runs a business in town.

Chad Haviland is part of the Main Street Committee. It’s a new group made up of millennials hoping to bring some new energy and exciting businesses to the downtown area.

“I think we just don’t have a lot of reasons to come downtown and if we don’t have a lot of reasons to come downtown why would people come?” says Haviland.

Although tax payer dollars would not fund the renovation, neighbors say they are still concerned about the cost. The project calls for an estimated $2 million dollars.

Town Council President Fred Avery says that number is only an estimate and will likely change.

“Once we get the numbers from the architect and when we have more detailed information so we know where we are at we will have some input as to what we like and want to take out and then we will have a better idea as to where the cost will lay,” says Avery.

Haviland says if it’s too late to change their minds about the location of the new police station, he hopes the council will invest downtown business revitalization next.

“I think the focus of this meeting was the police station and what they are doing with that i think what the focus should be of the council is looking at downtown, its current state and where we need to go to get us on the right track again,” says Haviland.

The council is expecting to get those more specific plans and the cost estimate by mid to late summer. If it’s approved, it will be bid out this fall and construction will likely take 6-8 months.

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