With the toss of some ceremonial soil, construction on a new Madison police station officially got underway. The city broke ground Wednesday on the new Midtown District. It’s a project police and residents have wanted for years to take pressure off the West District.
“The West District is very large. It incorporates one third of Madison right now,” Capt. Jay Lengfeld, who helped get the project off the ground, said. “We like to do policing in a small, decentralized model, so what we need to do is take the West District and split that.”
“It was time, it was appropriate and we were ready and willing to understand what that growth meant to the city and to try to carve that duty up,” Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said.
Longtime west-sider Dave Glomp said he’s been waiting for this day since 2014, when the city purchased the lot off Mineral Point Road.
“There was a large number of Madison citizens, a grassroots army if you will, who got together and tried to get the City Council and the Mayor to understand the importance of having this police station built,” Glomp said.
In addition to alieving the West District, the Midtown District will help officers cut down on response times. The 30,000 square-foot building will cost about $7.5 million, according to city officials. It will have solar panels and be Leed certified. Lengfeld said the department salvaged pieces from the former Mt. Olive Church before it was torn down.
The Midtown District will staff about 60 officers. Lengfeld said most of them will be shuffled from the West and South districts and seven new positions, including a gang officer and mental health officer, will be added. The project is expected to be finished by August 2018.
“It comes at a critical time in regards to the challenges that our city and our police department face,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said.
As Madison continues to grow, the police department is ready for it.
“It’s extremely exciting, not only for the department, but for the community,” Lengfeld said.