Yale police are getting a new home.
The University unveiled plans in early November to build a new police station at the corner of Ashmun and Lock streets, about half a block away from Swing Space. University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said the new station will be much larger and more accessible than the current station. The station will feature a community room for public meetings, an athletic equipment storage facility, and a fully operational computer learning center that will be open to city residents.
The building should be completed by early 2005.
Bruce Alexander, vice president and director of Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs, said the new station is being designed with the needs of the Dixwell community in mind.
“This facility is a great opportunity for a partnership between the Dixwell community and Yale,” he said. “This is a place where neighbors can share a space and work together to better New Haven.”
Highsmith said the YPD has discussed using the new facilities to implement several programs designed to improve the lives of New Haven residents. Possible activities include computer classes, bicycle clinics and sports programs for New Haven youth.
Ward 22 Alderwoman Mae Ola Riddick, who represents the Dixwell community, said the new programs would also allow residents from the predominately black neighborhood to get involved with their community.
“Yale has opened the doors for diversity,” said Riddick. “You are going to see quite a bit of minority participation at this new facility.”
Highsmith said construction efforts are still in the planning stage. Actual construction is not expected to begin until late next year. She said the YPD has outgrown its current building.
“The current station is in an old house that is not adequate to support the quality of the police department we have here,” Highsmith said. “It is also not adequate for any type of public use. The new building will serve us and the community very well.”
Yale Police Chief James Perrotti agreed.
“We’re kind of bursting at the seams here,” Perrotti said. “[The new station] will give us more space to conduct investigations.”
Though the police department has needed a new station for a long time, the actual site of the new police station had not been determined until fairly recently.
The approximately two acres of property on which the new station will be built was owned by the American Linen Company. After an asbestos removal company exercised an option to buy the land, some Dixwell community leaders said they worried that the new company would be too noisy and disruptive to the community and asked the University to step in.
“It is very unique when a rich university gets so involved with the neighborhoods around it,” Riddick said. “This new facility will add new security and resources to our community and I am very excited about that.”