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City to showcase new police department

April 01, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

RANSON, W.Va. - Ranson residents will get a chance to see the town's new police station during an open house celebration at the building Tuesday, officials say.

City officials decided to move the police department from the City Hall building at 312 S. Mildred St. to the new location at 700 Preston St. for several reasons.

City officials are considering renovating the City Hall building and they determined it would be easier to do the work if the police department was moved out, said Police Chief Bill Roper.

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The City Hall building is a historic structure that was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, according to Mayor David Hamill. In addition to City Hall, Hamill said the building has also served as a post office and school.

Ranson Town Council members are working to secure money for the renovation, Hamill said.

The second reason the police department was moved to Preston Street is because it gives the police department more exposure and accessibility in one of the busiest parts of town, said Hamill.

The 700 Preston St. location is close to Ranson Square, where numerous businesses are located, and is one block from Ranson Elementary School, Hamill said.

The new Ranson Police Department Law Enforcement Center is located in what used to be a post office, which moved out of the building about three years ago, Roper said.

The police department approached the owner of the building about buying it, and a purchase price of about $146,000 was developed, Roper said. The police department paid for the building with a $150,000 grant awarded to the department by former Gov. Cecil Underwood, he said.

Town Council members pitched in another $100,000 to turn the post office into a police station. The building includes six individual offices for police officers, a lobby, a secretarial area, a processing room, an evidence room and a storage room, said Roper.

The parking lot was repaved and police officers and other department personnel park in a secure, fenced area in the back, Roper said.

"It's a much nicer working atmosphere," he said.

The open house being held at the station from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday is designed to let the public see the building and offer suggestions for its use, Roper said. A ribbon-cutting will be held at 6 p.m.

"Actually, the building is the community's building. We would like the community to be as proud of the building as we are," Roper said.

The building, which was designed by architect and former Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) Mayor Walton "Kip" Stowell, was designed so it can be easily expanded to meet growth needs, Roper said.

The police department currently includes eight officers.

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