September 28, 2021

Homer PD potentially moving

Plan would be to renovate senior center space in Homer Town Hall

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Two people walk past the Homer Police Department’s James Street headquarters Thursday afternoon. The town is considering renovating the basement of Homer Town Hall so the police can relocate there.

The town of Homer is considering moving the village police department into Town Hall basement to improve security for the building and its employees, a move that would be possible if the senior center relocates from that space.

“I think we need to move forward, not just talk about it,” Town Supervisor Fred Forbes said at Wednesday’s town board meeting.

Forbes said an engineer had sketched out a plan to convert the basement to offices and suspect holding areas. Existing vaults owned by the town and village governments, which both use space in the building, would be turned over to police for evidence and weapons storage, he said.

Forbes said plans were drafted in 2003, the year before he first took office.

The Cortland County Area Agency on Aging plans to close all but a city of Cortland senior center and provide grants to municipalities and other groups interested in creating their own centers.

The Homer Senior Club plans to apply for a county grant to continue a Homer senior center, Forbes said.

Town board member Kevin Williams said the senior center could expand its operations at a new location.

Forbes said he has spoken with senior club officials and Police Chief Robert Pitman about the potential uses for the basement of town hall.

Those discussions are expected to continue and no timeline has been set for advancing the project. The first question is what space the senior club needs, said Forbes, who added there may be room for the seniors and police in Town Hall.

Pitman said Thursday afternoon that moving his department to the Town Hall basement would be a great improvement, if the space becomes available.

“By no means are we forcing the seniors out of town hall,” Pitman said.

“I think it would be a good thing,” he said of the move. “It would bring us all under one roof, the town and village, us, the court.”

The police department used a small office in town hall before moving to a small village-owned building on South Main Street near the fire station.

The department moved to the current location, a renovated former railroad depot at 43 1/2 James St., which it leases, more than 10 years ago.

Moving the police department to town hall would allow the town to add a metal detector at an entrance to improve security for town and village employees.

Having the department located there 24 hours a day would also help spot trouble, such as a fire or a boiler that stopped working, Forbes said.