Earlier this week, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Debora Juarez and Lorena González announced that the City will review the proposed new North Precinct facility, citing concerns around equity, cost and community needs.
The City will follow a recently-passed Council resolution and conduct a Racial Equity Toolkit review of the proposed precinct, and review key design elements that increased the project cost.
While the North Precinct serves 40 percent of the city and building a single precinct would save the city money and allow for a central training and community engagement location, other options for serving the area, including the likely more costly route of building multiple precincts, may be considered.
“The building proposed by my predecessor would address a growing need to replace the North Precinct, but clearly the public continues to have concerns about the estimated costs,” says Mayor Murray. “While we have had extensive discussions and planning, it is clear we need to reconsider the plan as proposed and ensure we are meeting the needs of the community with what we build.”
A resolution, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Burgess, Juarez and González and passed by Council last month, called for the RET analysis, and given the length of time for the review, the City will not move forward with implementing the project at this time. Additionally, the time while the RET process is being completed will be used to review other aspects of the project, including the number of facilities and overall cost.
“I remain committed to replacing the aging precinct in North Seattle and am prepared to consider multiple design options, if it is determined that is the best path for the community,” says Mayor Murray.
The City still strongly believes that there is a need for a new police facility in North Seattle and remains committed to replacing the current building. The original funding plan for the project included a mix of cash financing and almost $100 million in bonds. Given that the project will not move forward next year, the 2017 budget will not seek authority for this borrowing. However, approximately $15 million of the originally identified resources will be set aside in the budget to help address future project costs.
“We listened. Based on what we have heard from a wide variety of community members, and the Council’s review of the cost projections, we want to take another look at the component parts of the building and even redesign some of them in an effort to lower the cost,” says Councilmember Tim Burgess.