City of Elkhart closer to choosing location for Public Safety Complex

Elkhart Public Safety complex // WSBT 22

New information has been released on plans to build a Public Safety Complex in Elkhart.

The city is closing-in on a spot to build a new public safety complex, housing four different public safety departments.

It would combine Elkhart’s police department, the 911 Communications Center, Emergency Management and the administration offices of the fire department under one roof.

Currently, there four conceptual designs for how it could look and be laid out. Those are subject to change.

The city is close to picking where the complex would be built.

“At this point we are still assessing the best location. We're looking at, I think a minimum of four locations, they all have strengths and what we are determining is the best site with regard to are there any environmental concerns,” said Mayor Tim Neese.

Some of those sites are already owned by the city.

All four city departments that will be setting up shop in the new public safety complex have a big stake in it and how the planning comes together and how it will eventually look and operate.

Police headquarters, for instance, was built 41 years ago to hold 99 officers-- the maximum size of the current police force is 136, while the civilian staff has tripled.

“We want to get it right the first time because you are only going to have one shot at this. These opportunities do not come along very often and we want to make sure that we do it right, not only do it right, but do it right for the future to make sure that this is the right building, that's going to last for several decades,” said Elkhart Police Chief Ed Windbigler.

“It’s my intent to have a decision by the end of this year. I'd like to break ground as soon as we could in 2018,” said Neese.

Project plans also call for a community room, a training facility and an Emergency Operations Center, which would be in the basement.

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