Council President Clarke raises roof over shabby police station
City officials responded that station will be repaired but not replaced.
CITY COUNCIL President Darrell Clarke yesterday used words such as "deplorable," "ridiculous" and "archaic," to blast officials from Mayor Nutter's administration over the rundown condition of the building that houses the 22nd Police District station.
The station, at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue, is where recently slain Officer Robert Wilson III was assigned, Clarke reminded the officials on the second day of city budget hearings in City Hall.
Clarke became testy after city budget director Rebecca Rhynhart told him that no money had been included in the city's 2016 fiscal year capital budget to replace the building - which the council president said is obsolete and looks as it did when he was a boy.
The capital budget provides annual funding for construction and renovation of city-owned buildings, public facilities and infrastructure. The administration proposes to spend $179.2 million during the upcoming fiscal year.
"The reality is, this is ridiculous, it is embarrassing to talk about the wonderful officers of the 22nd . . . and to have them work in that facility," said Clarke, who visited the station to pay his respects after Wilson was murdered last month.
"We're talking about building all these other world-class facilities all over the city and the people that are some of the most important municipal employees have to work in those conditions," Clarke added, calling the building a "dump."
Rhynhart and other administration officials explained that more than $7 million has been included in the capital budget to repair and upgrade police and fire stations across the city, and that an additional $1 million will be spent on a master study that will be used to address police and fire station needs in future years.
"So right now, there is not specific plans to replace the 22nd, but I think overall there is an understanding that there is a need to both upgrade the police and fire stations, which we do have a plan for, and also to replace certain ones," Rhynhart said.
Clarke shot back that he has been asking for the 22nd District station to be replaced since the start of Nutter's administration, and now he believes he is being ignored.
"I don't know what kind of signal that sends where we can stand at the police officer's funeral and talk about how important our officers are but yet, it's OK to leave people in that kind of facility," he said.
"I don't think we're saying it's OK," Rhynhart replied.
"We'll, if you're not doing anything about it then you're saying it's not important," Clarke said.
Budget hearings resume Tuesday morning.