New Castle police host open house at new facility
NEW CASTLE — After more than a year of planning and construction, the New Castle Police Department moved into its new home, and to celebrate the occasion the department is inviting the public to stop by for an open house.
The event runs from 2-5 p.m. Saturday at the new location in the bottom floor of the public works building at 801 W. Main St. in New Castle. Black Dog Saloon is catering the event, and the department will be running the grill outside, Chief Tony Pagni said. Additionally, some residents are bringing sides, making the event somewhat of a potluck.
While it will be the first opportunity for the public to see the new office, officers and staff have spent the past several weeks moving into the new location, which was sorely needed, according to Pagni.
For years, the department operated at the town administration building in a 780-square-foot space. With 10 employees in the department, the situation was tight quarters, Pagni said.
After identifying the bottom floor of the public works building, which at the time was completely unfinished, Pagni set out to secure funding.
The town was awarded a $180,917 grant from the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District in the fall of 2014. New Castle budgeted $285,000 for the project, and minus a few outstanding finishing touches — such as blinds inside the office and sealing the parking lot — the project has been completed under budget, Pagni said.
The new location amounts to about 2,300 square feet. Aside from giving the department some much-needed breathing room, the move also opens up space at the administration building that can be used by town staff.
During the design process, Pagni said he borrowed certain aspects from neighboring law enforcement departments. The building has close entries for officers, which Pagni said he noticed at the Rifle Police Department — the holding cell with closed-circuit video monitoring was another characteristic borrowed from the Rifle station. The idea for the evidence lockers — a series of various-sized boxes that lock and can be opened only from inside the locker room on the opposite side — came from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Overall, it’s a facility that the town can be proud of, Pagni said. While staff has spent much of the past three weeks moving equipment, the additional space appears to be paying off already.
“I think morale is up,” Pagni said. “I’m a lot more enthusiastic to come into this building.”
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Colorado Highway 139 is closed between mile markers 12 to 39 both directions, Douglas Pass, due to a wildfire. The fire is putting off a lot of smoke, decreasing visibility.