HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The city of Hattiesburg has approved the purchase of a piece of property in the downtown area to temporarily house the police department.
The department will be relocated for a few years, while the city's new $25 million Public Safety Complex is built.
That move will be to 300 Klondyke Street, which is the old Hattiesburg Grocery Company facility.
"It's a process, we have a plan and we have an idea, and that is to tear down most of the police department as it sits today, but in the interim we have got to have a place for the police and the courts to operate," Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley said.
The old Hattiesburg Grocery Company was approved for the relocation site and was donated to the city, and will be the new home of HPD while the 80,000 square-foot facility is constructed.
According to a city of Hattiesburg agenda item, the city will pay $12,453.48 in regards to the facility, but the renovation process to bring the building up to speed will be part of a $5.3 million project that also encompasses the municipal court.
The court side of the department will be relocated at the former Federal Building at the Forrest-Pine Street intersection, which was leased to the city at no cost.
"We will begin soon rehabbing, and that way the police department and the courts can continue to operate, hopefully in a good way," Bradley said.
"Being that it's temporary and being that it's something that we had to do, it is the best situation possibly and will save the city money in the long run," Hattiesburg City Councilman Henry Naylor said.
The fire department administration will stay in the converted house on Corrine Street for the time being, and then move to a stand-alone facility to the rear of the police/municipal court facility at the safety complex.
"It's going to be suited up for a police department short term, but long term it's going to be something positive for the city to use," Bradley said. "This is a god-send for the city, it is something that fits our needs, and price wise it saves us money in the long run."
City leaders say the relocation process will not be easy, but they are hopeful the end result will be worth the trouble.
"When this is all said and done, we come back in three or four years from now and we have a wonderful public safety complex, it's going to be worth whatever cost or whatever troubles we have to go though to get there," Bradley said. "As far as an immediate time frame, its up in the air right now, but the contractors have accessed the plans to see what needs to be done."