Covering Louisiana

Jun 22, 2014 2:05 PM by AP

Independence plans new police station

INDEPENDENCE, La. (AP) - Officials in the Tangipahoa Parish community of Independence plan to start construction of a new police station in the coming year.

Mayor Michael Ragusa told The Daily Star the city might abolish its historic district and use about $150,000 set aside for the district's operations to help build the new station.

The Police Department is now housed in a small office at a former train station immediately next to the railroad tracks.

Ragusa said the proposed 2,500-square-foot police station would cost a total of about $250,000 and would be built on a city-owned site near City Hall.

Plans are also moving forward for development of the town's pavilion and splash park, to be located downtown along the railroad tracks.

Originally, the town budgeted just over $200,000 for the pavilion, but bids came in at $310,000. Ragusa said the city may supervise the work directly, significantly cutting the cost.

"We'll try to use as many local people as we can and get as many bids as we can," he said. "I'm thinking we can save enough money by doing this to get it in the budget."

Construction could begin in July and take about three months to complete, Ragusa said.

"This will be a centerpiece for the town and can be used for yard sales, farmer's market, birthdays and many other things," the mayor said. "It's a great thing for Independence."

The town will pay for the pavilion, while the Independence Area Recreation District will pay about $65,000 for the splash park.

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