WESTERVILLE — The city held a ribbon cutting and open house over the weekend for its new Justice Center, 229 Huber Village Blvd.
“We had a great time helping to kick off the Westerville Division of Police’s move into the new Justice Center this morning!” the city posted Sept. 10 on Facebook. “Stay tuned for an announcement about the grand opening event in spring 2023.”
“Thanks, and congrats to all who made this a reality,” added Joe Morbitzer, past police chief, who currently leads Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “WPD is an outstanding and progressive organization that is deserving of this state-of-the-art facility. Special thanks to (council members) Mike Heyeck and Adam Maxwell who have been a part of this effort from the onset. Fourteen years ago, this was merely a concept. With the leadership of (city manager) Dave Collinsworth, past city councils, and city staff this is the new home to WPD and the Westerville Clerk of Courts. OUTSTANDING!”
The WPD is moving from uptown to a larger consolidated location for its police and Mayor’s Court. The 30-year-old uptown facility is simply too small for the department.
In 2019, Westerville voters approved the bond request over 20 years to finance construction for a new facility. The city acquired the existing building and parcel for $2.1 million, and the cost to retrofit was $15 million.
Design work was done in 2020 by Brandstetter-Carroll, and construction began in January 2021.
“In addition to needed space, a Police/Court Facility will provide room for training and a dedicated court space for its weekly operations,” the city said. “Community meeting space would be available on days that Court is not in session. Several areas of the existing WPD headquarters are outdated and in need of repair. Its aging and outdated shooting range, currently housed in the basement, will be replaced by a range that can be utilized on a daily basis. The space and condition of the jail’s holding cells is also outdated and needing more maintenance.”
Changes are also coming to Westerville’s historic armory building at 240 S. State St. The city said it “is being converted into a COhatch property which will serve the community as a coworking space, start-up incubator, event space and family-friendly food and entertainment destination. Access to the site will be through a new driveway to be located on the north edge of the property to be further from the signal at Bishop Drive.”
A traffic study was conducted along the site.
Sunday was 9/11, and the terrorist attacks on America were marked by somber ceremonies at noon in Westerville’s First Responders Park, 374 W. Main St. Special signage and photo installations were in place for the event.
Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County. He may be reached at the above email address or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.