GROVE, Okla. — Concerns with public safety facilities in Grove have city officials turning to voters.
“A new building I don’t think is going to increase our service to the community but it’ll certainly increase the pride of this town,” said Mark Morris, Grove Police Department Chief of Police.
For the first time in city history, a bond issue will go before Grove voters to fund the construction of a new fire station and police station.
“So for the city to vote yes on this it would give our public safety officers not only a better place to work physically but a better environment to protect our residents,” said Laura Huckabee, Grove Area Chamber of Commerce President.
Both current buildings are more than 40 years old, with an estimated shelf life of around 30 years. City officials say those structures are now deteriorating or are simply unsafe.
“We have issues with for instance rain storms and when it rains it’s almost like a fountain on the East side of the building,” said Morris.
And the Grove Fire Station is also dealing with some of the same concerns. The current building has several holes in the ceiling even after efforts were made by Fire Chief Mike Reed to help fix some of the repairs himself. Plus, city leaders say, Gove’s population has significantly increased in recent years, as well as having more public safety staffing than they can house.
“We need the space. We’re about 5500 square foot here in a building that was built. No room to expand,” said Morris.
“We want to attract other companies here. We have to guarantee them that our public safety officials can keep them safe, keep their buildings and facilities safe, and also keep their families safe,” said Huckabee.
And Morris wasn’t kidding when he said that. The police department has had to get creative with storing evidence, using bathrooms and even jail cells as evidence storage rooms.
“It’s a constant challenge trying to stay ahead of those problems. But we have what we have and we work through it and we try to provide the best service we can possibly provide,” he said.