On revient sur l’édito : Groundbreaking Wednesday for new Justice Center in Hamilton

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Apr. 11—The Hamilton Police Department will have its first new home in about 50 years next year when the Justice Center opens in late summer or early fall of 2024.

And for the first time in more than two decades, the police department will be in the same building as the Hamilton Municipal Court.

On Wednesday afternoon, city officials will break ground on the $32 million project, which will construct a new 64,000-square-foot police and court building on Hanover Street across from the Butler County Jail. Nearly a third of the funds ― $10 million ― will come from the city’s ARPA funds from the federal government.

The remaining funds will be borrowed, which Hamilton City Council approved this past fall.

City officials said the project would save the city upward of $300,000 annually and reduce inefficiencies as the courts and the police department will be in the same building. The last time the two departments were in the same building was before the Government Services Center was constructed.

When the courts moved in 2000, the city had to duplicate holding facilities and booking areas, which forced the police department to run two operations. In addition to consolidating those features and others, the departments will also be close to the Butler County jail, which will benefit in transporting prisoners.

Right now, the court and police department are about a mile from the county jail, which Police Chief Craig Bucheit previously told the Journal-News, « It’s not ideal. »

Hamilton Public Safety Director Scott Scrimizzi said the city’s been talking about a justice center project for the better part of 25 years as the police department has long outgrown the space. The police department on South Front Street was a converted former Kroger building. The interior was retrofitted to be split by the police and courts.

The city had conducted a couple of feasibility studies related to a one-stop shop for the police and courts, the first one in 2001. It was refreshed in 2014 and completed in 2016. The city had purchased the former Hamilton Tool property and other parcels on Hanover Street between South 7th Street and East Avenue.

Construction on the Justice Center project should start soon after the groundbreaking. The property is already cordoned off with chain-link fencing, and construction trailers are on site. Scrimizzi said they’ve looked at other police agencies, such as the Fairfield Justice Center, as well as newer facilities, like the Cincinnati Police Department’s District 3 and the Monroe and Sharonville police departments.

« We want it to be user-friendly. We want a good, functional facility that’s going to last, » Scrimizzi had told the Journal-News.

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