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    Sunday, December 03, 2023

    Site near Mohegan Park to be considered for new Norwich police station

    Norwich ― A 27.58-acre parcel of land off Ox Hill Road, adjacent to Mohegan Park and behind the Rose City Senior Center, is the top contender for a proposed new police station.

    If the city purchases the property, it may add a significant portion of it to Mohegan Park.

    The City Council at its 7:30 p.m. meeting Monday at City Hall will consider a resolution to purchase the vacant and wooded land from owner Ox Hill Land LLC, based in Westport, for an undisclosed price as the proposed location for the $44.75-million police station if voters approve the new station in a Nov.7 referendum.

    The resolution states that several sites have been considered for the new police station and lists the Ox Hill Road land as the top contender. And because the land borders Mohegan Park, the resolution states: “such that the council finds it to be in the best interest of the City of Norwich to acquire the property for its potential enhancement of Mohegan Park, as well as its potential for use in connection with existing city facilities located on or near Mahan Drive.”

    The public will get a chance to comment on the proposed resolution prior to the vote.

    The purchase price is left blank on the council resolution. Tax records list an appraisal value of $187,200 for the property. City Manager John Salomone said the council will meet in executive session to discuss the purchase before the vote.

    While the site is listed as the top contender for the proposed station, Salomone said other sites are still under consideration. He said the committee of Norwich officials who have been studying proposed sites looked at seven properties.

    Salomone and Mayor Peter Nystrom on Friday said they would recommend purchasing the Ox Hill property even if it is not chosen for the police station for its potential to expand Mohegan Park and because it is adjacent to the senior center and recreation facilities on Mahan Drive.

    The council on Sept. 5 approved sending an ordinance to bond $44.75 million for a new police station to voters in November. The total price includes property acquisition, potential demolition, as well as the new police station.

    The ordinance describes a police headquarters facility that would include a community room, training classrooms, emergency operations center, main desk, dispatch center, areas for the public, prisoner processing, detention and transport, armory, parking and electric vehicle charging stations. The price also includes new equipment and furnishings.

    Voters in 2012 rejected a $33 million plan to convert the former Sears building downtown into a police station. Three years later, city leaders rejected bids from private developers for a leased police headquarters.


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