Committee named to find Norwich police station site

Norwich - The City Council Monday revived the issue of finding a site for a new police station, naming a 13-member committee that will spend the next six months studying potential sites, the scope of the project and the plans that were rejected by voters in November.

The committee will be asked to report its findings to the City Council in September, with no expectations that a second referendum on the controversial project would be placed on the November ballot along with the mayoral election.

Voters last November rejected the police station plan 7,254 to 4,178. The project would have used the former Sears Building at 2-6 Cliff St. and incorporated several vacant surrounding lots. A city-owned parking lot would have been converted into a three-story parking garage, the first floor for public parking.

Mayor Peter Nystrom praised the nominees selected Monday, saying many of those who came forward to serve on the committee are new faces who don't serve currently on city boards and commissions. No city elected officials and no city employees are on the committee.

The committee also reflects the city's heavily Democratic majority, with eight Democrats, four Republicans and one unaffiliated member.

The Democrats are: Dennis Jenkins, Karen Neeley, Derrell Wilson, Keith Ripley, William Kenny, David Eggleston, Andrew Harvey and Larry Kendall. The Republicans are Martin Shapiro, Scott Camassar, Valerie Aliano and Robin Lawson while David Winkler is the unaffiliated member.

During discussion of a resolution to appoint the committee, Alderman and mayoral candidate Charles Jaskiewicz questioned whether six months was enough time for the committee to study potential police station options, including sites, cost estimates and the scope of the project. Alderwoman Sofee Noblick, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said the goal was to have the review done quickly. But she said the committee could request more time if necessary.

Nystrom said the selected committee members will be contacted and asked to set up an organizational meeting to get started.

Police Chief Louis Fusaro said creation of the committee is "a step in the right direction." He said he was pleased that the issue was back on the council agenda.

"One thing that didn't happen in November was to solve the problem," Fusaro said.

c.bessette@theday.com

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