New Boathouse for Lake Division Police Sent Out for Bids
A brand new boathouse may be in the works for the San Angelo Police Department’s Lake Division, including boat slips and a storage room for of the division’s diverse equipment needs.
Currently, the police department is renting storage units in two different locations to store their two boats, thus increasing response time to on-the-water accidents to 20-30 minutes.
“They’re ready to get the boat down on the lake, which we’ve needed for years,” said Lake Nasworthy Homeowner’s Association (LNHA) President Tad Logan, adding that the boathouse should drop the response time down to around five minutes. “We haven’t had many fatalities out there, but when do have a bad situation like we had two to three years ago, we can’t be 20, 30 minutes out there. Somebody’s going to drown. I think this is a very much needed situation.”
The proposed storage facility and boat slips would be funded by Lake Nasworthy Homeowner’s Association funds, rather than general funds, and Logan hopes to be able to get the project done this summer.
LNHA and the police department have corresponded on boat and slip sizes, as well as storage space needs for the equipment, and drafted their design accordingly.
“We feel like this would be a very good asset for the City,” Logan said. “It’s going to give a presence at the lake that we haven’t had with the police. This is going to be pretty much centrally-located; it’s on City property; we’ve got good road access in and out now,” and a neighboring resident has offered to allow the police to use his ramp, adjacent to the property, Logan continued.
Planning for the project has been in the works for over a year, Logan said, and has included LNHA, as well as the PD.
“This is not something we just came up with in the past month,” Councilman Rodney Fleming said. “This has been a long, long process that [they] have gone through on this, and they’ve already had an architect draw up these [plans].”
Having heard the presentation, Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer inquired about the cost, which Logan estimated to lie between $60-70,000. The LNHA has currently only $60,000 available.
“That’s why we wanted to go out for bids,” Logan said. “We might actually come in at 50 (thousand), but I wasn’t aware as to how much was actually out there to spend.”
A question was raised as to how much money the City could pull, as Farmer mentioned she believed they could only use the interest earnings for one year. City of San Angelo Chief Financial Officer Michael Dane said he was not certain there was a one-year limitation, or if accumulated funds from several years could be used to fund the project.
“I think we’re going to find that we can use it,” Dane said. “I think what would give us comfort is knowing a specific request amount for funding for this project.”
Speaking to the need the Lake Division Police have for the boathouse, Sergeant Wes Bodden approached Council. “From a public safety standpoint, what we’re doing right now doesn’t make any sense at all. I don’t have the manpower or a place on the water right now to keep a boat ready for emergency situations. So, when we get that call, whether we’re on duty or we’re off duty, it involves somebody having to respond to the storage, get the boat hooked up, tow it to the ramp, unload it, and at that point, now you’re available to respond.”
Bodden stressed that on-the-water incidents are time imperative, and that minutes make a very big difference in those situations. With a dock and a boat constantly on the water, response time can be reduced by at least 75 percent, he said. Picking the boat up and putting it in the water, plus bringing it back at the end of each shift accounts for roughly an hour of work, he says, time that could be spent on patrol.
“From a safety standpoint, I can’t believe this hasn’t been done, a long time ago,” he said.
The argument of safety concerns changed Farmer’s opinion, who said she was going to vote against it without having a dollar amount. “If it’s me floating out there for 30 minutes, I would have already drowned,” she said.
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