Neighbors concerned about delay of Midtown police station

Neighbors concerned about delay of Midtown police station
Proposed location for Midtown police station

Many neighbors who live near the Madison Police Department’s proposed new Mineral Point Road precinct are echoing Chief Mike Koval’s concern about Madison Mayor Paul Soglin’s proposal to delay the location’s construction until 2021.

“The response times and issues like that,” Sunset Village Neighborhood Association President Ken Raffa said. “And I felt if we’re going to delay much longer I felt like we’re going from being proactive to more behind the curve.”

With a construction delay, an already overflowing west precinct, the city’s west side continuing to grow and the possibility of annexing the town of Madison, Koval said the likelihood that his officers will have more difficulty responding to calls for help is very real.

“All of that creates time gaps and response concern,” Koval said. “And if you’re calling 911 you don’t want to hear excuses. You want the cops or the fire department there now.”

Beyond response times, Sunset Hills Neighborhood Association President Gary Green said residents are also worried about the prospect of a continued empty building.

“The idea of leaving property vacant for so long is scary from a neighborhood perspective,” Green said. “It would attract a lot of potential crime, and vandalism issues. And it needs to be kept up.”

While some people in the surrounding neighborhoods have said they did not want a police station because of noise concerns, Raffa said based on meetings and electronic communications between neighbors that is a minority opinion.

The Madison Common Council will have the final say on the mayor’s precinct proposal.

When Soglin rolled out his budget he said the city needs to cut back on borrowing to avoid falling too far into debt. However, the proposal does include $728,300 for site work and building demolition on the Mineral Point Road site.