500 attend open house for Gold Hill Substation
An estimated 500 people or more stopped by to take a look at the Colorado Springs Police Department's new Gold Hill Substation at the grand opening March 6.
They got a rare chance - at least for law-abiding citizens - to stroll past the front desk and see where police staff work, meet, analyze evidence, get fit (a small gym), interview suspects and hold prisoners.
“This is a tangible element of what the city believes in,” commented Mayor Lionel Rivera in a speech prior to the ribbon-cutting outside the front door of the 30,000- square-foot facility at 955 Moreno Ave. Rivera and other speakers were referring not only to the voter-approved .4-percent public safety sales tax in 2001 which paid for the $6.7-million facility, but to the broad show of citizen support after the shooting death of Officer Jared Jensen Feb. 22.
Police Chief Luis Velez also mentioned the tragedy in his comments. “I never was prouder of this community than I was that day (the funeral).”
On a lighter note, at another point of his talk, Velez observed that the famous artist/architect Michaelangelo was born March 6. “I think he would have been impressed with this building,” Velez said, earning some chuckles from close to 200 people who were seated in front of the building for the ceremony.
The one-story brick building is similar in appearance and design to the department's substation in Stetson Hills that was also built with the public-safety tax. Serving the Westside/downtown/ Cheyenne area, it will house nearly 200 police employees who previously worked in the Police Operations Center downtown.
Gold Hill Commander Kurt Pillard estimated that close to 500 visitors passed through the building during the designated 2 1/2 -hour open house time frame the afternoon of March 6. But “there were still people showing up at 5 or 5:30 after they got off work,” he said. “We tried to accommodate them as well.”
In addition to self-guided tours, open-house visitors were treated to refreshments, stuffed bears with “Colorado Springs Police” shirts, police cadet displays, and demonstrations of the department's helicopter and new (Homeland Security-funded) bomb unit and mobile command post vehicle.
In addition to about 130 patrol officers, the building will house the following division units: Neighbor-hood Policing, Divisional Investigations, Neighbor-hood Traffic (motorcycles), Traffic Enforcement, the Crime Analysis Unit and the crime prevention officer.
Actual police use of the facility is not quite happening yet. Pillard said final inspections that would allow a temporary certificate of occupancy still must take place. But he foresees no problems, and the likelihood is that the substation will be open for business at 6 a.m. Monday, March 13.
Unlike the Westside's former Gold Hill substation (prior to the division's move downtown in 1993), the new substation will be a 24-hour, full-service facility.
One building feature that will be available on a long-term basis is the large community room. In his speech, City Council member Jerry Heimlicher, whose District 3 includes the Westside, urged citizens to take advantage of this opportunity.
For more information, call the station at 385-2100.
Westside Pioneer article