APD evidence lot would need to be relocated for Bronson administration’s proposed ‘navigation center’

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 7:24 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The site Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and his administration have selected for a proposed mass shelter and navigation center is currently used as storage for hundreds of vehicles that are considered evidence in criminal cases, requiring storage at a secure location. It’s unclear what it will cost the city to relocate the lot, and how quickly that could be done.

The new administration is seeking approval from the Anchorage Assembly on its plan to erect the homeless shelter in time for winter, a project the administration estimates will cost roughly $15 million.

Homelessness coordinator Dr. Michael Morris said the structure itself will cost $5.3, with construction costs are estimated at $10 million.

The Anchorage Police Department estimated it will cost $4 million to relocate the current evidence vehicle storage lot that’s behind the old police headquarters on Elmore Road. The proposed alternative site is a nearby lot across Elmore road.

In an email to assembly members, Anchorage Police Chief Ken McCoy provided the estimated cost breakdown, noting there would be additional costs associated with the move, per vehicle, reflected in police time. Those additional costs would be about $20 per vehicle, for a total of $10,000.

“The cost will increase if we were to move a greater distance across Anchorage,” McCoy wrote. “APD staff will be required to escort each vehicle as it moves to ensure the chain of custody is maintained, these are evidence vehicles.”

In a meeting with assembly members Tuesday, Morris said he disagreed with the estimate from the police department.

“I believe that we’re going to come in at a fraction of that cost for moving those cars,” he said.

Morris said the projected $10 million in construction costs includes relocation of the evidence vehicle lot.

During a public meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Michael Kerle said the department’s resource manager created the estimate based on more than a decade of experience working on APD construction projects. He also said the estimate is based on a larger lot, due to crowding in the current one.

The current 3-acre lot was built for 236 vehicles but is currently storing more than 500, Kerle said. The area they’re looking at for the new storage lot is 5 acres.

The estimate is also based on a timeline with construction starting in the spring of 2022.

“We have to go through the bidding process, you have to go through the permitting process, when my resource manager did that he figured this is going to take a while to get all the bids out there to get all permits,” Kerle told assembly members.

McCoy noted in his correspondence with assembly members that the process could be expedited and the numbers provided in the estimated cost breakdown could change.

“I emphasize that this information is an estimate based on our experience building and outfitting our current [Outside Secure Storage] facility. The costs will vary if we move forward with a relocation plan,” McCoy wrote.

Bronson and Morris have also acknowledged that the projected costs could change once they proceed with a formal request for proposals process.

The administration’s formal request for appropriation of $15 million for the purpose of erecting the navigation center is set to be introduced at the assembly’s next regular meeting.

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