The city plans to open its new wellness center at the same time the police substation opens. Madeline Green, director of risk management and benefits, said the center is nearly complete.
"All the equipment is in," she said. Telecommunications equipment and furniture are on the way, she said.
The new center will have a clinic, exercise room and drive-through pharmacy.
— Cliff Hightower
Next month Chattanooga police officers will begin moving into a remodeled building on East 11th Street.
The new police substation, which has been under construction since July, will host about 70 officers across three shifts who patrol in the Bravo and Charlie teams in the downtown and Southside areas.
"I enjoy being able to go to work and be stationed in the community I'm working in," said Bravo Lt. Eric Tucker, who oversees the downtown area.
Officers will report to the building at the beginning of their shifts for meetings before leaving to answer calls, and they may return at the end of their shifts to write reports. The city's bike patrol unit also will be housed in the new building.
Community Kitchen Executive Director Charlie Hughes said he's thrilled at the coming police presence.
"Some of [the officers] take an above-and-beyond interest in our clients. We're just excited about having them over there," he said.
Officers routinely respond to calls at the Community Kitchen, sometimes for incidents such as drunken and disorderly patrons who won't leave.
Tucker said officers will come and go from the substation during every shift.
"So that, in and of itself, is going to be a sort of security element to that neighborhood," Tucker said. "You have a number of social services there, which I think will make a positive impact on them."
A call box will be installed near one of the outside doors should someone need to speak to an officer, and there will be a community room on the far side of the building.
"There will be activity there, but it may not necessarily be staffed 24/7," Tucker said.
The project has cost $891,000 so far, said Dan Thornton, director of city services. That includes a generator and a fenced-in lot for parked patrol cars and electric vehicles.
The city closed substations on Walnut Street, at Eastgate on Brainerd Road and in Alton Park on West 40th Street in 2010 to save money, according to newspaper archives.
Mayor Ron Littlefield said the new substation will be part of a larger complex this time.
The city is planning a gun range in a building on East 10th Street and intends to move police academy classes to that location.
"We had a lot of people say, 'Why did you move it away from Walnut Street?'" Littlefield said. "We didn't own that [building] and this one is bigger. With the addition of the firing range in the back, it will become a training area."