Hillview has eye on more office space

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By The Staff

HILLVIEW -- When Mayor Jim Eadens wants to hold a private conversation in his office he might have a little trouble.

From the city files that are stacked in the office to the basketballs bouncing against the wall from the adjoining gym, Eadens said the Hillview city staff is out of room.

And he’s looking for a way to find a little more room on the city’s budget.

For the second time in as many years, Hillview officials talked about moving outside its current facility to find more space.

Previously, the city announced plans to construct a new city hall and police department near the Tanyard Springs apartments. That project continues to be on hold pending resolution of a 10-year-old lawsuit involving land off Ferguson Lane.

Now, Eadens has inquired about possibly moving the police department to the current home of Sonny Bishop Cars on Preston Highway.

The talks are very preliminary and he’s not been inside the building to determine what renovations may be needed.

Besides the city hall staff being cramped for space, Eadens said he really wanted to get the police department in a location out of the subdivision.

“It’s a safety issue,” said Eadens, who is concerned with a police car leaving quickly on a call through city streets with many children playing.

The mayor said he would like to lease the building with the option to buy. However, he told councilmembers on several occasions, he had not seen the inside of the facility and didn’t even have any lease prices.

The reaction from councilmembers was mixed.

Kim Whitlock said she didn’t like the idea of splitting up the police department and city hall, both located on Prairie Drive.

She agreed that having the police travel Prairie Drive is dangerous but she still didn’t want to see the departments separated.

Harry Cooper said before anything is decided, officials need to get inside the building to see the renovations that might be needed.

Randall Hill didn’t understand the move since the city just spent $60,000 to add space to the current police department. He said the police have enough space currently.

“We just built them a room,” said Hill. “It’s time for us to do something for city hall.”

Jo-Ann Wick said she didn’t like to pay rent and maybe the city could find a spot to move both agencies. She did like having the police in the middle of the city as it offers high visibility and deters crime.

Greg Burton inquired whether anyone had contacted the Archdiocese of Louisville over the St. Mary Catholic Church facility, which is being sold.

“This is very, very preliminary,” said Eadens. “It’s just an idea.”

Eadens said he would arrange a time the city could go inside the Sonny Bishop building and he would also talk with officials in charge of St. Mary.

The city has no ability to expand the current facilities. The rest of the property was acquired through a land and water conservation grant.

The city has already expanded city hall once and then built the police department.