Dubuque police eye ramshackle building for new substation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque police eye ramshackle building for new substation

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The Dubuque Police Department has a top choice now for the site of a new sub-station it plans to open in the next few years.

The building, however, needs a lot of work.

It's a vacant, ramshackle and historic building, at 400 East 22nd Street. It used to be a grocery store and residence, but it's been vacant for nearly three years.

Despite city expansion in Dubuque's west end, which is the opposite side of town from the location of Dubuque's Law Enforcement Center, police want to build the substation just over one mile from the existing facilities.

"It's at the crossroads of three territories," Dubuque police chief Mark Dalsing explained. "It's where the housing is most dense, where the population is most dense and where the calls for service generally happen."

Dalsing said the proposed substation is not as much about quicker response time as it is about increasing police presence in the area.

While crime statistics show Dubuque's crime rate isn't particularly high, compared to Iowa's other large cities, there is still a perception about crime in that area of town.

"Any time you can do something to make people feel more comfortable and safer, you're going to try to do it," Dalsing said.

Michelle Mihalakis owns Salvia Apartments for women, which is the building right behind the proposed substation. She said she welcomes the news.

"I think it's an excellent idea for the neighborhood," Mihalakis said. "It's a very historic point. That's a very old building in the neighborhood, and it's a good one to resurrect and to make it breathe new life and, plus, protect the neighborhood at the same time."

The building sits near Audubon Elementary School and sits alongside Dubuque's Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project.

"With the city investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in that immediate area, along that multi-million-dollar project, it just kind of makes sense that that'd be a pretty good location to put a sub-station," Dalsing said.

"We all try to work together, keep our neighborhood safe, clean. So many good things are happening in the neighborhood right now," Mihalakis said. "I see a turnaround coming."

The building is still just a possible location. The city has not yet acquired it, and it would likely be a few years before a police substation would open in it.

A local not-for-profit organization, the Four Mounds Foundation, holds the mortgage note to the building and is working with the City of Dubuque to turn the sub-station possibility into a reality.

The building dates back to the 1860s, making it one of the oldest structures in Dubuque's Historic District.

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