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City Council approves repairs to Des Moines Police Department building due to safety concerns

The move faced criticism because it wasn't open to public comment.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines City Council approved a plan to repair the Des Moines Police Department's building exterior due to some areas being deemed unsafe.

Council members unanimously approved putting the project out for bid with a budget of $250,000 dollars.

This proposal was not opened to for public comment, leaving Des Moines resident Natalie Harwood feeling unsure of its importance.

"The council consistently pushes police funding through without allowing public comment," Harwood said. "I'm opposed to any increases to the police budget, especially for $250,000 cosmetic masonry."

City architect Ann Sobiech Munson said these repairs are far from cosmetic and are needed to ensure the safety of residents.

"It was an unexpected expense. Initially, we had an incident last spring with some deteriorated stone coming loose from the building at pretty tall height, and so it became a safety concern," Sobiech Munson said. "So the primary reason for doing this is to address safety for anyone that's in the adjacent area of the building on the outside."

Harwood believes if funding is needed, it should come from DMPD's established budget.

"They are already the largest funded item that we fund," she said. "The police are the only ones who are never asked to stretch their dollar while so many of our in our community starve."

RELATED: 'People are going to die if there continues to be gunfire': DMPD concerned after weekend shootings

Sobiech Munson explained architects focused the budget decision around immediate safety concerns.

"In terms of determining the cost of the scope, we worked with OPN Architects... once we had concerns about the safety, they performed a hands on survey of the entire façade of the building to identify whether or not there was any other loose stone," she said. 

She added that only the exterior will be repaired, nothing is changing internally.

The DMPD building is not historic property, but it is a contributing building in a National Historic District, which is something Sobeich Munson said the city has to take in consideration while working on it.

RELATED: Des Moines City Council gives green light for bridge repairs and replacements

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