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Longview police office will return to Highlands neighborhood
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Longview police office will return to Highlands neighborhood

Longview City Hall stock

Longview City Hall.

The Longview Police Department will again have an office in the Highlands neighborhood.

The branch office will replace a closed police department office in the low-income neighborhood.

The Longview City council unanimously awarded $250,000 Thursday for the building, which will be located in Archie Anderson Park.

Police office

The previous Highlands office closed in 2019 when the department’s lease ended as new property owners took over the building.

The office was located at 216 30th Ave. behind the St. Helens grocery store, and served the city’s poorest neighborhood for nearly 24 years, according to a previous TDN report.

Longview City Manager Kurt Sacha said the lowest bid to construct the new building came in $300,000 over the estimated costs as construction expenses continue to rise.

Interim Planning Manager Adam Trimble said the council previously funded $150,260 for the police Highlands office. The Washington State Legislature also awarded the police department $250,000 for the project in 2020.

Longview Police Capt. Branden McNew said the Highlands station was smaller than the department’s main station on Hudson Street. He said operating the Highlands office helped officers respond to calls more quickly on the west side of the city and form relationships with the community.

Funded projects

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The dispersed funds came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Block Grants. HUD allocated $332,787 to create housing or better living environments in Longview this year. In addition to creating housing, projects could include funding public facilities, infrastructure and creating economic opportunities, Trimble said.

The city parks and recreation department was awarded $20,000 for the Longview Super Summers youth program and $16,640 to design and plan the Cloney Park playground on 28th Avenue.

Community House on Broadway was allotted $9,500 to cover administrative costs to provide rental assistance. This is in addition to the $42,300 the shelter received Thursday for rental assistance from a different federal funding source.

Not funded

City staff recommended funding about $20,000 less for the police satellite office, but councilmembers opted to take money from another applicant instead.

Council members decided not to fund Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Legal Aid’s $15,000 request and instead allocated the money to toward the Highlands police office.

The legal nonprofit aimed to use the money to help low-income tenants being evicted once the pandemic rental moratorium ends.

The Council moved $5,000 of unallocated funds to the police project as well.

Staff also suggested not funding a nearly $49,000 request from Community House on Broadway to expand the shelter’s child care and youth services. The council agreed.

Shelter Director Frank Morrison said the expansion is needed because the organization housed up to 200 children last year and staff watched children 40 hours a week because “a lot of the daycares were shut down” during the pandemic.

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