BY VIC COUVILLION
Special to The Advocate
March 05, 2013
HAMMOND — The City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to buy the Hancock Bank Building in downtown Hammond for conversion into a consolidated headquarters for the Police Department.
Mayor Mayson Foster said that the city could gain title to the building within the next week, opening the way for renovations to begin soon after.
Purchase price of the facility, which was appraised at $1.166 million, would be $625,000, with the state providing $600,000 of that amount, the mayor said.
Foster has said the cost of renovation will be covered by funds from the city, state grant money as well as additional city funds.
Foster said once the department moves into the new headquarters, the city will no longer have to lease space in several other buildings where police now operate.
The city is also purchasing adjacent parking lots which, Foster said, will remain open for public use.
Once renovations to the headquarters are complete, Seventh Ward Court will occupy the space in the Leon Ford Justice Building where the Police Department is now headquartered.
Foster added that the Hammond City Jail will remain on the top floor of the Ford building.
Other matters considered during the meeting included:
WATER WELL: The council accepted as complete a new water well in Zemurray Park.
City Engineer Chuck Spangler said the well produces about 1,500 gallons of “excellent water” per minute.
The well was completed with a $740,000 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant along with a $110,000 match from the city.
YOUTH PROGRAMS: Councilman Lemar Marshall announced that an initiative to create after-class and summer programs for school-age youth is moving forward.
Marshall said that school officials, Chamber of Commerce members, Southeastern Louisiana University personnel and others are developing the programs.
The aim is to give young people an opportunity to continue their studies for three to six hours after their weekday classes let out and also during summer vacation.