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Weirton officials eyeing new police headquarters

Craig Howell NEW HQ ­ — This sign directs visitors to the public entrance for the Weirton Police Department, on the lower floor of the Weirton Municipal Building. During a special meeting Thursday, city council discussed the possibility of the construction of a new facility to house the city’s law enforcement agency.

WEIRTON — A proposal discussed by Weirton Council Thursday night could eventually see the city’s police department relocated into a new facility.

Legislation will be put forward for consideration, first by the city’s Finance Committee during its meeting next week, and then by the full council during its meeting March 8, to expend up to $50,000 on an engineering study for the proposed new headquarters for the Weirton Police Department.

The project was mentioned by Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel as part of discussions during a special meeting Thursday focusing on the city’s 2021-22 fiscal budget.

Weigel noted the current council had taken on a major issue by addressing the city’s police and fire pension debts by way of a municipal sales tax, and he feels the time is right to move forward on this project.

“I want to have another legacy for when this council is done,” Weigel said, noting there have been concerns over space in the current police station, located in the lower floor of the Weirton Municipal Building, for decades.

City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo explained discussions on more space for the police department can be traced back to the 1990s, when he served as city attorney, and the proposal for the construction of the state office building now located in Municipal Plaza next to the Weirton Municipal Building.

“The whole bottom floor was supposed to be our police department,” DiBartolomeo said, explaining there also had been plans for a section to connect the two buildings.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash agreed the project is needed, but said if the city is going to move forward on an engineering study, he feels officials need to see the entire proposal to completion.

“If we’re going to commit, let’s commit,” Ash said. “I don’t want to do a study and then throw it in the trash.”

DiBartolomeo confirmed recent discussions have been held, with input from the officers of the police department, on a potential new facility, and some possible sites have been targeted.

“We’re looking at different locations,” DiBartolomeo said.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Flora Perrone recommended keeping their attention focused on a location downtown, in particular along Main Street, if possible.

“It could be a revitalization,” she said.

Ash noted the city owns property on West Street, while DiBartolomeo made reference to city-owned property near Municipal Plaza as possible locations.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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