Bainbridge gives up on plan to build new police station on NE New Brooklyn Road

The city of Bainbridge Island is abandoning plans to build its new public safety building on NE New Brooklyn Road.

City officials made the announcement Tuesday, and said the site was being dropped from consideration after the unexpected passing of the owner of the property, Tom Coultas Sr., in late March.

The Coultas family recently told the city that they thought it was not a good time to move forward with the sale.

“While we are disappointed in this decision, I certainly understand and respect the Coultas family’s decision, and truly appreciate the open and forthright approach by the Coultas family during the entire process,” City Manager Doug Schulze said.

The city council agreed in August to build a two-story, combined police station and municipal court on the land, which is just east of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department’s Station 21 helipad.

The new public safety building is estimated to cost approximately $28.4 million, but that estimate does not include the cost of buying the property.

City spokeswoman Kellie Stickney said she believed an appraisal of the 1.89-acre site property had already been done.

The city council was told of the Coultas family’s desire to not sell the property during a closed-door executive session last week.

“It’s unfortunate,” Stickney said. “It’s a setback to the project.”

While the city does have the legal ability to obtain property for public projects through an eminent domain lawsuit in court, Bainbridge officials won’t explore that option.

“The council has been pretty vocal in the past about pursuing a property without a willing seller,” Stickney said.

“It’s off the table for this project,” she said.

The city will now re-examine other locations for the public safety building that were previously cut from the list of potential sites.

City officials said they would look again at locations near Madison Avenue and Highway 305.

Other sites that have previously been examined by the city included rebuilding the police station in its current spot on Winslow Way next to Highway 305, and three other properties near the highway; at 8954 Madison Ave. North, 9657 NE Yaquina Ave., and north of Vineyard Lane.

Much of the early design work for the NE New Brooklyn Road site had already been completed by the city’s consultants on the project, Coates Design Architects and McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie, Inc.

Stickney said that work won’t be lost as attention shifts to a new location.

“It’s very likely a lot of that work will be applicable,” Stickney said, to any location where a two-story facility can be built.

“The work still has value and we’ll still be able to use it as we move forward,” she said.

There is no estimate on when the topic of location will come back to the city council, but Stickney said the project remains a priority for the city.