Public Safety Bond proposal heads to Lansing voters

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A bond proposal for a new Lansing public safety complex was approved by the city council Monday night. The mileage proposal now heads to the November ballot.

If passed, the nearly $175 million bond would tackle a list of infrastructure issues and bring the city’s police, fire and court offices together under one roof.

“We are actually losing limbs on a daily basis and as fire chief I have a responsibility to do everything I can to minimize those impacts,” Lansing Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant said.

He was one of several civil service leaders who fielded questions from city council members about the bond proposal. Sturdivant said current stations do not provide enough room for firefighters to safely store their equipment away from where they are staying while on duty. He said his main concerns were the health of his squad, their preparation and an improved facility that would facilitate recruitment.

“This upgrading our facilities, what we plan to do with upgrading our fleet. These are things that make a young firefighter candidate say “hey, regardless of the 25, 30,000 calls a year they make to Lansing, I want to work for this organization because they’ve proven to take care of their firefighters,” he said.

If passed by voters, the mileage would fund the renovation of three fire stations, replace another, and move firefighter training and administration to the new building. The complex would also house the district court and detention areas. Judge Stacia Buchanan said it would be a safety upgrade for the public and court staff.

“We had cases of intimidation of witnesses who appeared in court. But even moving an inmate down the hall, when a witness is sitting there, even if chained, can be a very daunting situation,” the 54-A District Court judge said.

Lansing police offices would move from its downtown and Wise Road locations to the complex. Ministry officials said the operations center is well beyond its lifespan. Chef Ellery Sosebee said the link would bring much-needed improvements that have been underway for years.

“It won’t be cheaper and it’s something that needs to be addressed and dealt with at some point and I think voters are smart and understand that and know that the time is right,” he said.

Some council members voted to approve the proposal, while still wanting more details. Voters will have their say on the project in the November 8 election.