by John Glidden | Feb. 2, 2021
VALLEJO – Councilwoman Tina Arriola took to social media on Tuesday to express her displeasure over a 2019 Vallejo City Council decision to purchase property along the city’s waterfront and transform it into the new police headquarters.
In an interview with JohnGlidden.com, Arriola confirmed that her request to agendize a future council discussion about the property will be before the council at its Feb. 9 meeting.
“When our City Council decided to purchase a 13 million dollar waterfront property for the VPD, requiring an additional 15-40 million dollars for retrofits, I made the decision to run in District 6, because I knew then what I know now, that we simply cannot afford it,” Arriola posted on her official Facebook page. “I won’t sugar coat it. We are in economic turmoil and we must make fiscally responsible decisions that will allow us to support badly needed social programs, to afford filling pot holes and to avoid bankruptcy. We need a new police station. 400 Mare Island way is not the right place.”
In February 2019, the council approved spending $13.4 million to purchase the waterfront property, and convert the two-story 60,000 square-foot building into a new police HQ. The building was originally built for State Farm Insurance, which has since vacated the property.
That decision was met with some resistance from the community with concerns ranging from having a heavy police presence on the city’s waterfront, to the possible danger of speeding police vehicles as they respond to calls for service.
Those opposed to the project also objected to the idea of spending millions of additional dollars to renovate the building for use by the police department.
Arriola asked for a status report about the property at the Jan. 12 council meeting.
At the same January council meeting, Mayor Robert McConnell said he’d like to see a status report.
“I have some concerns about the financials on the building,” McConnell told City Manager Greg Nyhoff.
City officials have stressed a need for the department to move from its aging headquarters at 111 Amador Street. They have previously reported asbestos and lead contamination issues, along with limited accessibility for those with phyiscal disabilities.
When asked, Arriola said she needs more information before making a recommendation on what to do with the property.
“I’m going to need a great deal of information from our City Staff, which I will need to carefully weigh and consider, before deciding what I think we should do with the building moving forward,” she told JohnGlidden.com.
Arriola said she was confident her plan to move the department to another location would be supported.
“I feel like the public support is very strong and I’m very hopeful that it will carry over to the council,” she added.