Bainbridge officials at city hall and the fire department have had preliminary discussions about the possibilities of a new joint-use building that could serve as a combination fire station/police department headquarters.
In these times of dwindling revenue streams for local governments, the idea seems worthy of consideration.
The current police department building leaves much to be desired. Some in the community feel the cinder-block structure, perched on the corner of Winslow Way and the downtown's entryway for visitors from the mainland, has outlived its usefulness and the prime location should be used for something else. That viewpoint is sure to find greater currency in the months to come, given the recent opening of The Waypoint gateway park on an adjacent corner and the impeding opening of the nearby Bainbridge Art Museum.
Bainbridge Police officers have long bemoaned the location of their headquarters, which leaves them isolated from others who work for the city.
The fire department is also rightly interested in where new or improved facilities should be located in the future, and ways to limit the costs of essential improvements to island taxpayers.
Sharing a facility could theoretically result in reduced capital and maintenance costs, as the duplication of some common areas — meeting rooms, workout areas and so on — would be limited.
A shared-use facility could be many years off in the future, to be sure. But starting to explore the possibilities now is an effort well worth undertaking.