But one overriding, irrefutable fact has not changed: the Anniston Police Department needs a new headquarters. Its cramped, decrepit office space, storage areas and jail complex no longer are sufficient.
Can we at least agree on that?
It is that spirit that we carry this week into the next phase of this lengthy saga. Groundbreaking ceremonies at 13th Street and Gurnee Avenue are scheduled for this morning at 10. The real work will begin Tuesday. Construction bids have been accepted. It’s time to get to work.
(Considering the latest delays and developments surrounding the completion of Veterans Memorial Parkway, we wonder: Which project will win this race to the finish, the justice center or the parkway?)
This week’s progress isn’t likely to please City Councilman Ben Little. In typical, obstructionist fashion, he has fought virtually every step of the justice-center project. He’s ranted against the $15 million cost, the legality of transferring the project to the Public Building Authority and the project’s bond financing. His arguments are tiring.
This week’s progress is likely to bring back unpleasant memories for preservationists who tried to save the former Anniston City Land Co. building. Count this editorial board among those who lament the passing of that 1890s-era building and wish better coordination, communication and cooperation had taken place between the council, City Hall and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission before the deteriorating building’s fate was decided.
From history’s standpoint, it would have been marvelous for the new justice center to incorporate a portion of the Land Co. building’s original architecture. But that time has passed.
Today, we move on.
Portions of downtown Anniston and its surrounding neighborhoods have been remade and renovated so many times that we’ve lost count. Yet, we’re hopeful that a modern, state-of-the-art justice center adjacent to the improved Zinn Park will prove beneficial for downtown’s coming years. Consider it another piece of a revitalization project Anniston is still trying to complete.
As for Anniston’s finest?
It’s not the opening of the center, but it’s close. Those officers have endured a tough year due to the death of Officer Justin Sollohub, who was killed last August while on patrol not too far from the future justice center that will carry his name.
Delays and disappointments held up the rebirth of the Watermark Tower, the 1920s-era building that dominates the city’s meager skyline. But look at it now.
Delays and disappointments have also held up the justice center. Those days are now long gone.