Merced police headquarters plan could be changing

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Plans to build a new Merced police headquarters could be changing. A five acre property in north Merced is slated to be the new home of the Merced police headquarters. But now the city council is considering other options.

City of Merced spokesperson Mike Conway said, "They bought a site back in 2010 on Mansionette and Yosemite and we've had some inquiries about putting some commercial locations there."

The city paid about $1.1 million for the land after considering a total of 26 sites. The plan was to build a 50,000 square foot facility to replace the crowded headquarters on 22nd Street.

Conway said, "We do need to have a bigger police department, and the idea was basically to have a department that would last about 25-30 years and essentially double the size of our police department."

The city has set aside about $4 million for the project, but it still needs more. Officials say selling the land could help. The area is attracting developers because of the surrounding shops and restaurants, including the nearby promenade. Businesses we visited say they would welcome more commercial development.

Strings General Manager, Paula Diaz, said, "I think it would help tremendously. We have people who still walk into the restaurant and don't know we're here, and we've been here for 10 years so I think it would really really help."

Jordan Gilmont with Five Star Tanning added, "I think that all in all it would be a great expansion, it would help businesses it would open up more job opportunities as well."

The city must make enough money off the sale to make it worthwhile -- and it would need to identify a new location for the police department.

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