Private donations and emergency repairs continue extending the lengthy career of the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) 2nd District station at the corner of Magazine Street and Napoleon Avenue, but the 110-year-old building finally may be in line to be retired from service in the next few years. Money already is being allocated to replace the crumbling structure, city officials said at a June 26 public hearing, but before the project can move much further, a decision must be made on where the new station will be.
A citizens' support group, COPS 2, has provided money for extensive repairs, as has attorney Morris Bart. The structure is termite-ridden, and during hurricanes, a lone officer is left to monitor the building's condition while the rest of the force seeks shelter at more secure locations, such as New Orleans Children's Hospital.
In June, the station had to be closed to the public for several days for emergency repairs. City workers found such extensive deterioration that much of the floor had to be replaced.
Although there have been plans to replace the station since Hurricane Katrina, city officials currently envision a three-year process. In the current budget, $400,000 has been allocated to purchase property somewhere Uptown for a new station. In 2014, the plan calls for $550,000 to be allocated for design and in 2015, the plan designates nearly $5 million for the building's construction.
Where to place the new station remains undetermined. If the goal is to locate it centrally in the 2nd District, a site near the Ochsner Baptist campus in the Freret neighborhood might be ideal, especially if there is other publicly owned land in the area, said Jim Lynch of the city's capital-projects department. NOPD officials also have expressed interest in a location closer to Pine Street and the Earhart Expressway in the Gert Town-Hollygrove area that may have more space for parking.
The design for the building is likely to be similar to new stations in the 5th and 7th Districts, said John Faust, facilities supervisor at the NOPD. The 7th District station cost $6.2 million and opened in February 2012. City officials broke ground on the $7.2 million 5th District station at 3900 N. Claiborne Avenue in August 2012. "The building is very functional," Faust said of the recently used design. "Why mess with something that works well?" — Robert Morris, Uptown Messenger