01/28/10 228 W - + 12 - 22 Lightner Public Safety Center Update

For the last couple weeks, the Raleigh City Council has been discussing their plans to move forward on the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center project, the proposed 17-story combination fire, police, emergency communications, traffic operations, and information technology headquarters that'll replace the police station building on the northwest corner of Hargett and McDowell streets.

Yesterday, three local conservative groups expressed their opinions in a press conference. They've taken issue with the cost, which they say is twice as much as it should be. They're also concerned about the above-ground plans for the communication center. That increases its vulnerability, they say. (Wonder what percentage of the country's comm centers are above- versus below-ground? And how's the "bad guy" threat these days?)

They also want the project put to citywide referendum. The thinking on the latter goes something like this: because the project will cause increased taxes in coming years, the citizens of the city instead of the council should make that decision. Or, more accurately, that the council doesn't have the power to push significant debt on taxpayers without their approval. Previously, most recently, attention on the project concerned the budget for public art. 

What happens next? The City Council will resume discussions on the project next week at their February 2 meeting.

Sources: News & Observer, Raleigh News Release, WRAL

I’m all for the new public safety center, but I’m not a taxpayer in the city so that doesn’t matter. I’d love to see them consider naming the place after someone though, that was PRO-public safety.

How about this one; “The City of Raleigh Public Safety Center”. Or, go retro since Raleigh is soooooo hip; “City of Raleigh City Hall”. Then, put a sweet old school, sign that lights up with the words “CITY HALL” on the top floor so it can be seen for miles. Something similar to this, but better of course; http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h..
Silver - 01/28/10 - 09:32

Retro is cool. Maybe a revolving planet on top that says “Dailey Plan..” wait, I mean “City Hall” – in the Art Deco artistic style. Just a little humor… Have a safe day!
A.C. Rich - 01/28/10 - 09:54

The majority of communication centers that I have visited are typcially in bunkers, either below grade or in non-windowed rooms. (Charlotte Fire is an exception).

And bunker is a kind word: poor ventilation, no connection with natural light, natural air, daytime/night-time cues, no idea what the weather is doing, etc. Not nice places to work in a high-stress environment.

The new center is proposed to be on the top of CLPSC, and would probably most definitely be a nicer place to work.
harkey (Email) (Web Site) - 01/28/10 - 10:30

Johnston’s Comm center is below ground, the previous one was on the second floor and the first was below ground as well. Not sure of any correlation of vulnerability level compared to floor level.
rookie - 01/28/10 - 11:10

It seems rather weird to put the ECC somewhere extremely difficult to expand. With as fast as technology has been changing for the centers and given the rapid expansion of Wake county, it would seem prudent to put it somewhere where expansion can be accommodated whether it be for more equipment or just more call takers/dispatchers. Not too easy to tack on a few hundred sq feet add-on to the top of a large building.
Joey - 01/28/10 - 15:55

Cary’s communications center is located on the 3rd floor of the Town Hall on a corner of the building with windows as 50% of the outside walls. It’s a very nice center and a drastic change from the old center.
CFP 7021 - 01/28/10 - 17:57

Well at least the truth is out about why we didn’t get a raise.
RescueRanger - 01/28/10 - 21:03

RescueRanger, huh??
DC - 01/29/10 - 07:33

Regarding expansion space, placing the ECC at the top of said structure seems to ensure that they can expand downward, no? With other offices displaced off-site as needed?? The design of the structure probably or certainly includes expansion capacity, and was likely designed with input from each participating department projecting needs 10 or 20 or 30 years into the future. I would think.
Legeros - 01/29/10 - 07:42

Rescue Ranger – I heard our (and all other city employees) raises went to the wonderful ERP program that still can not get our check stubs and info correct.
Jakey - 01/29/10 - 07:50

RescueRanger? DC? Jakey? Look, this isn’t Facebook, with validated user accounts and thumbnail icons for portraits or other avatars. Maybe after an upgrade sometime, but not presently. What we’ve got is what we’ve got. You can say quite a bit of anything, about anything. You can even take pot-shots at Mikey. Not everyone’s a fan, nor are they expected to be. Go nuts, but play nice. Not everyone wants to post a screen name and that’s fine. It adds to the mystery and makes for a fun guessing game. (And for some readers, takes away from credibility. You’re also more likely to be deleted, if your anonymous comments are of the sh&t-stirring variety.) As always, send me private mail with comments or concerns. Like life itself, we’re all making this up as we go along.
Legeros - 01/29/10 - 08:36

I think it will be cool to be able to see the engines and the ladder leave the big house from 13 stories up.
Marcus - 01/29/10 - 10:52

Last time I checked, we’re all still getting raises. Might not be as much as last time, but it’s still an increase in pay. Might be from the operational budget, but that doesn’t matter to us, ‘cuz greenbacks are greenbacks. I know folks that are being forced to give money back at their jobs, so stop whining.
Silver - 01/29/10 - 11:21

Some my have taken my previous comment wrong or thought that I was being a smarta**, so let my rephrase it better. I’ve heard from several reliable sources (Yes, this would still be considered rumor, and not 100% fact) that the ERP software that the city purchased for managing pay and benefits cost $16,000,000. That would have covered all city employees raises for several years. Instead employees are getting raises out of the departments operating budget. So no new firetrucks, backhoes, new handguns, or whatever the department deems necessary. I’m not complaining about a raise, God know we could all us one. My complaint is that this supposedly $16M program has been online for 6 months and my paycheck stub still cannot get my sick leave and vacation leave correct. And my opinion on the new public safety center; not now. People are struggling and cutting back everywhere they can and you want to raise taxes (however small it may seem to you) on them. Hell no. If everyone else has to cut back so should the city, state and Feds. Maintain what you got, put a little in the rainy day fund and what for the economy to turn around. It always has.
Jakey - 01/29/10 - 12:44

$16M for software seems awfully high. $1.6M is easier to believe. Same for 160,000. Wonder if that is a multi-year liscense, or ten year license? That would make more sense. Presumably the investment also has benefits, probably manual work— and positions— no longer needed, which would equal a degree of cost savings. For whatever that’s worth.
Hmmmmm - 01/29/10 - 12:55

Hmmmmmmmmm – I said the the same thing when I heard the amount, but those who I heard from where higher on the payscale than I. I know for sure one of the sources is no BSer, he’s a facts and figure guy. I could see $1.6M easier than $6M or the $16M.
Jakey - 01/29/10 - 13:12

Well, that’s why we’re here! To speculate on second-hand and third-hand information. Ha ha.
Hmmmmm - 01/29/10 - 13:17

No more speculating, 1st hand info per page 56 of the FY10 COR Budget, Capital Project Funds #502 ERP Project Fund. $6.98M for FY08-09, $6.8M for FY09-10. Thats $13.78 Million in two years. What is going to be for this year, another $6M ?
Jakey - 01/29/10 - 18:55

Mike, can you open a blog about the reedy creek road fire? there have been some interesting questions raised about WWFD Sta 2’s closure and the fire
WWFD - 01/29/10 - 19:53

You can start your own thread over on the Watch Desk. Or send me a PM with your ideas for a blog topic.
Legeros - 01/29/10 - 20:13

Back to the Public Safety Center, this week’s Indy has an excellent article on the politics of the project: http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content..
Hmmmmm - 01/29/10 - 20:26

Build it now or paymore later.!!!
Build it - 02/02/10 - 20:58

Wonder if they still have the plans for the consolidated 911 center planned in the mid-90s for the Wake County Office Park off Poole Rd?
Historian - 02/02/10 - 23:27

Construction of a tower on that site (needed for radio communications) was not approved because of the historic preservation requirements of the park next door. No tower = no 911 center, at least it did back then.
Historic Preservation - 02/03/10 - 14:30

This week’s update saw three council members proposing a do-over. They want the city to scrap the public safety center, and renovate the existing police headquarters, and build a new communications center, http://www.newsobserver.com/news/countie..
Legeros - 02/05/10 - 07:42

Newly added on the city’s web site, a portal of information about the project: http://www.raleighnc.gov/portal/server.p..
Legeros - 02/06/10 - 09:13

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