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New public safety campus breaks ground in Lansing

Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee stands under a tent in front of city officials and first responders to speak about the new facility.
Arjun Thakkar
Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said community support for the complex "was a big boost of morale" for officers.

Lansing is preparing to build a new $175 million public safety facility.

Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the building Thursday morning at a vacant parking lot behind 2500 South Washington Ave. The complex will centralize Lansing’s police and fire departments as well as the 54-A District Court.

A rendering of the Lansing public safety complex that shows a white building behind a large parking lot with grass and trees.
City of Lansing, River Caddis
A rendering of the Lansing public safety complex to be constructed along South Washington Avenue.

Voters approved abond proposal last year to fund the project.

Police officers currently work at a location adjacent to City Hall. But Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said that site has grown outdated and that officers there have to deal with poor conditions, including animal infestations, mold and water issues.

“Getting them a new facility, it will be another boost in morale, and it will help us recruit the best and brightest new officers to come to the city of Lansing," Sosebee said.

Lansing law enforcement have been advocating for a new public safety building for more than 20 years, according to Sosebee. He said the new space will improve officer's comfort and efficiency as the department works on recruitment.

"We not only have the community support, our mayor's support, our council's support, but we have a new facility for them," said Sosebee.

The project includes renovations to fire stations outside the public safety campus. The renovations will add space to fit larger firetrucks that couldn't be housed under current facilities.

City officials participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the public safety building, holding shovels and wearing helmets in front a pile of dirt.
Arjun Thakkar
City officials participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the public safety building.

Lansing Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant said the facility will also create better living accommodations for staff.

“Keep in mind our firefighters work 24-hour shifts," Sturdivant said. "It is not only where they work, but it is where they live. And this level of support really sends a strong message that we've got their back. We have absolutely, positively, have to have their back.”

Mayor Andy Schor acknowledged the ceremony was occurring ahead of National First Responders Day on Oct. 27 and thanked the fire and police departments for their service. He added the complex is going to be located in "the middle of the city" and enable quick emergency response.

The public safety move is part of a longstanding goal to shift services out of the current, aging City Hall building. Most other city services will be shifted to a new City Hall that's being constructed at the old Masonic Temple.

Schor said the developments will open up real estate opportunities across the capital.

"We are going to have probably the most prime piece of property right in the downtown available," Schor said. "As soon as the numbers and everything works to get into Masonic Temple, then we will have an announcement on something we think will be pretty cool downtown, we're just we're not there yet. But it will be a terrific use."

Construction on Lansing’s new public safety complex is expected to take about two years. Officials said the facility will likely open at the end of 2025 or in 2026.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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