CEDAR RAPIDS — In a move designed to cut costs and more efficiently use space, the Cedar Rapids Police Department is relocating its substation.
Over the next 45 days, the Community Connection Center is to be moved from 1501 First Ave. SE to 1233 First Ave. SE, Suite F. Public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said the substation will remain open at its current location during the move, and work is expected to be complete at the new location by March 1.
The First Avenue substation has been open since Oct. 1, 2009, Buelow said.
Moving the substation is a matter of logistics. Buelow said when the Community Connections Center opened seven years ago, it not only served as a place for citizens to walk in and interact with police, it also housed other entities such as fire department and code enforcement officials, personnel from the Department of Corrections, Cedar Rapids Community School District, flood recovery demolition teams and staff from the United Way and Willis Dady Emergency Shelter. Now, those operations have been consolidated in other locations, such as the City Services Building, Central Fire Station and the Juvenile Court Building.
“It was a lot more space than what was needed,” for the police, Buelow said.
The Community Connections Center was designed as a “one-stop shop” for community concerns, but Buelow said with the other entities gone, the substation averages one to two visitors a week. He attributes some of that to more community policing and officers in the neighborhoods, as well as the prevalence of cellphones.
“The true need for a walk-in, satellite location diminished significantly,” Buelow said.
With a smaller space also comes cost savings. Buelow said the city anticipates it will save $35,000 to $60,000 a year operating out of the new location.
The new substation will have office space for a district lieutenant, the Police Community Action Team sergeant and the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative Officer, as well as meeting spaces for citizens and officers.
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