Gainesville is planning a new police precinct on Cleveland Highway near Fire Station No. 2, and the Gainesville City Council voted Tuesday, Dec. 15 to approve the land purchase.
The precinct will go on the same site as the recently relocated fire station, which is at 1741 Cleveland Highway. The Council unanimously voted Tuesday to purchase a 0.81 acre adjacent lot from America’s Home Place Inc. for $290,000. Impact fees were used for the property purchase.
Impact fees are one-time charges for new construction that are primarily used to fund projects for libraries, parks and public safety.
Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said having more locations will both help officers with equipment needs and help them more efficiently respond to calls.
“As the city grows, it gets harder and harder to get downtown,” Parrish said.
The city’s public safety complex is located on Queen City Parkway near Jesse Jewell Parkway, and Parrish said it can be time-consuming for officers to get from their area to the station.
The precinct will serve a growing area of Gainesville and be more conveniently located for residents as well, Parrish said.
“If you live out in the Limestone area, this will cover the whole Limestone corridor and that White Sulphur area that is growing, it’s just a quick shot right over to the new precinct,” he said.
Parrish also said the area along Cleveland Highway needs more of a law enforcement presence.
“Last year, we had a lot of crime in that area,” he said. “We did a good job of getting that under control, but now those citizens need our presence full-time.”
The area saw a string of crimes in early 2019, including a deadly shooting outside a CVS Pharmacy on Park Hill Drive and an armed robbery at a Park Hill Drive gas station. Police increased their presence in the area and heard from residents at a community meeting about the crimes and neighborhood concerns.
Parrish said the city hopes to start design over the next year and then move into the construction phase within the next few years. Parrish said funds from SPLOST VIII, the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters last year, will fund the project, although the budget has not been determined yet.