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Rebuilding Sanibel: City looking at $13 million police headquarters

Posted at 7:24 AM, May 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 07:24:18-04

SANIBEL, FLA. — Sanibel may soon see a significant change as plans for a new police headquarters progress. The current Sanibel Recycling Center is being considered as the site for this $13 million facility.

Walking down the quiet island streets, many neighbors said safety isn't a major concern for them.

"I feel very safe on the island," one resident said.

And while they were out for a walk Wednesday night, Diane and Rich Henley questioned the need for such a substantial investment to enhance safety.

"Do we have the money to spend for that kind of facility? And secondly, would that money be better spent for Sanibel coming back from a hurricane?" they asked.

Right now, only a million dollars have been secured for the new facility. Nonetheless, the City Council has unanimously approved the design.

The next step involves applying for more than $150 million in federal grants for various projects across the island, including this one. Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton advocated for the project at the May 7th City Council meeting, emphasizing its long-term value.

"I can't really anticipate what the exact needs are going to be 20 or 30 years down the road, but I do feel this building will serve the needs of the community for probably 50 more years," Dalton stated.

The city explained that the new three-story facility would also serve as a base of operations in case of another hurricane. During Ian, the first floor of their current headquarters was destroyed, forcing the emergency responders to work out of tents.

Another neighbor nearby, Dayne Wilson, said his father was a Sanibel police officer. Wilson supports the investment.

"I think it's fantastic. I know they've outgrown that facility up there. To me, they truly do need a separate building," he said.

The new 20,000 square foot building promises more space, including locker rooms, gyms, training areas, and armories.
Once funding is secured and construction begins, the design firm estimates the build to take 15 months.