Groundbreaking held for new police station in Hurlock

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Dorchester Banner/Susan A. Bautz A cheerful group joined Police Chief Les Hutton, Mayor Joyce Spratt, and Town Administrator John Avery in breaking ground for the new Hurlock police station.

HURLOCK — It was a picture perfect setting to break ground for the new Hurlock police station. The lot, adjacent to the brick building that has served as the police station for many years, was shovel-ready. And there were a few shovels.

Police Chief Les Hutton thanked Mayor Joyce Spratt and the Town Council for “helping us move forward with this building; and thanks to John Avery who did a lot of the nightmare paperwork; and to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for funding the program. We’re very excited.”

Chief Hutton explained he and his department have been waiting for the new building.

“It’s going to bring us up to the standards where we need to be with the State of Maryland and will enhance our professionalism. The design of the building to look like a train station is going to go with the look of Hurlock especially right here with the trains behind it. It’s going to look picturesque and I think people will stop by just to look at the building.”

Mayor Spratt explained that Hurlock residents voted for the project. She said the building is “really needed. We put it on the ballot last election and the town voted for it so the people are behind it.” She hopes to use the old building “as a place to put a train museum or something like that.”

The ballot question asked if Hurlock should continue with its plan to build a new police station for an approximate cost of $1.2 million to become compliant with current regulations using funding that was previously allocated to certain loans. The question passed by about 2 to 1.

Dorchester County Sheriff James Phillips added, “I congratulate you on being successful with the new building. Many, many years ago when Hurlock decided to have its own police force they hired the people, gave them cars, but I can think of four different buildings the police force has been in over the years. They now have a very professional police department.”

The current building does not meet federal or state regulations in numerous areas, including American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The new design accommodates short term growth or expansion by increasing density and expansion for long term growth in small increments, according to design engineer Tim Crosby.

At the town meeting in the fall of 2011, he described the proposed building as “a very simple level of finish” with an exterior that is reminiscent of the town’s railroad station, but maintenance free. The front resembles the train station; the rear looks like the freight processing addition to the train station. He added that using an existing site and roads means saving money.
Total overall costs, based in part on case studies of police stations in small towns, are $1,195,775. That includes direct construction costs of $996,124.50; soft costs of $134,651.  Mr. Crosby said, “We think we are within plus or minus 5 percent.”

The Town Council recently approved an 18 month $1,396,000 construction loan at a fixed interest rate of 1.41 percent from Hebron Savings Bank.

Sheriff Phillips had just finished saying, “They’re as good a cops as anywhere in the country,” when a train passed behind the group and the whistle blew – as if to confirm the sheriff’s words. He added, “To have the cooperation of the Town Council and the Mayor, I envy you.”

Chief Hutton suggested the visitors return “when we have the Open House.”

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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