Sunbury Police station to cost more than $1M; city council votes to move forward

SUNBURY — It will cost just more than $1 million to construct a new Sunbury Police Department building that City Council voted to move forward on Monday night.

The decision comes just more than 2 years after the initial discussions began when it was announced the 440 Market Street location was beginning to wear and maintenance costs were growing.

Councilman Chris Reis spearheaded the project and has been working with Strosser/Bear Architects LLC., of Sunbury, to discuss the cost of transforming the proposed site located at 441 Chestnut St., into a police station.

"We need to move forward and I am happy to see this process started tonight," he said. 

The vote came after City Administrator Jody Ocker announced the total cost of the project would be $1,045,000 to renovate and construct the new department's headquarters.

Reis and Councilmen Ric Reichner and Jim Eister and Mayor Kurt Karlovich all voted yes while Councilman Josh Brosious voted against the project.

"I feel we have other buildings in the city that need to be looked at," Brosious said. "To spend that kind of money on this building is not in the best interest of the city and taxpayers."

Brosious said he would like to explore other options.  

Reis said he believes the city needs to move forward on the project and now, following the vote, council will begin to search for finance options. 

The current police station on Market Street is in need of repair.

Council also voted to approve a study to be conducted on setting up a scholarship fund for Shikellamy High School students who are looking to take part in the dual-enrollment program at Lackawanna College, in Sunbury.

Reis said he supported Lackawanna College and wanted the city to find a way to help Shikellamy students pay the $300 per course charge. 

Campus director Phil Campbell, Shikellamy Superintendent Jason Bendle, and Marc Freeman spoke to council about the program.

Bendle said at least 30 Shikellamy students are currently taking college courses.

Eister, Reichner, Brosious and Karlovich voted in favor of writing a letter of intent to the Susquehanna Valley Community Education Project. 

If the group gets a college sponsor the city would give $6,000 annually to help pay for rent. Reis voted against because he said Lackawanna College is already established in the city and no other community governmental agency has backed the group at this point, he said.

"The risk of stunting Lackawanna's growth was too much of a risk to take at this time," Reis said. "Now that it is passed I wish them the best of luck to succeed."

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