Contract with Minnesota Twins delays police department’s move into Ritchie’s building

Published 8:39 am Monday, October 29, 2018

With a proposal costing the city $1.5 million, the recent contract with the Minnesota Twins required money to be acquired from other projects. One such project was the planned move of the Elizabethton Police Department into the old Ritchie’s building, a plan that has been in the budget for several years.

Mayor of Elizabethton Curt Alexander said the city originally issued bonds of about $2.5 million two years ago, 1.5 of which set aside for the Minnesota Twins club in Elizabethton.

“We got to a point where we were not sure about the deal with the Twins,” Alexander said. “Therefore, we decided to divert funds to other projects elsewhere.”

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Once the city finalized their deal with the Twins, however, that money needed to be re-distributed back to where it was before. He said both projects were equally important to the city, but said the Twins project has a May 2019 deadline and needed to be completed first, while the police department did not.

“The police department does not have a season to start in June, after all,” he said.

Alexander said the city had originally designated around $1.25 million towards the Elizabethton police department’s move into the old Ritchie’s building. Despite the rearrangement of money to other locations, Alexander said the delay on moving the police department would not be that noticeable.

“We will probably begin renovating the building during the next fiscal year,” he said.

The plans for the building itself depend on ADA accommodation regulations. Without an elevator, the second floor of the building can only be used for storage.

Alexander said the original plan to move the police department to the building started around three years ago, when the city originally purchased the building.

“The CID (Criminal Investigations Department) is in the basement of the library,” he said. “We wanted to consolidate them and the police department. That is why we purchased the building.”

Alexander said both projects are “high priority,” and said the main reason the city is working on the Twins club first is because of the May deadline, a project he said is “on track” to meet its deadline.

“No project is more important than the other,” he said.