Missouri News

Canton looking at converting old railroad depot into new police station

The old railroad depot in Canton, Mo., is being considered as a possible site for new police headquarters. | H-W Photo/Edward Husar
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 22, 2019 12:01 am

CANTON, Mo. -- The Canton Board of Aldermen is exploring the possibility of using the city's old railroad depot as a new home for the Canton Police Department.

The CPD is currently housed in City Hall. However, city officials have been looking at making some major renovations to City Hall -- or possibly relocating some municipal operations to other sites -- as a way to comply with new operating standards for Missouri's municipal courts.

One idea discussed in July called for splitting City Hall into two locations by moving Canton's administrative offices and the municipal court to the former Golden Ruler building at 400 Lewis St. and keeping the Canton Police Department in the existing City Hall.

However, the board learned this week that the owners of the Golden Ruler, who had offered to sell the building and a couple of nearby properties to the city for $230,000, feel a recent appraisal conducted on the city's behalf did not accurately reflect the properties' value.

Mayor Jarrod Phillips said it's unclear if the valuation dispute will throw a wrench into the proposal to sell the property to the city. "So we are looking at other options in case we can't bridge that gap," he said.

If the city were to convert the old railroad depot into a police station, Phillips said the city could then remodel the City Hall space vacated by the police department and use it as a new municipal courtroom meeting state guidelines.

The board authorized Phillips to get some estimates on the cost of converting the depot.

In other action, the board agreed to enter into a contract with the Missouri Department of Transportation to install lighting at Canton's main entrance along U.S. 61 at Route P. The city would pay one-half of the estimated $106,624 cost.

Phillips said improving the lighting at that interchange will improve safety, but it also will let passing motorists know "there is a town here and that we're open for business, and we're basically keeping the light on for you."

The board announced that the city, local businesses and Culver-Stockton College will co-host a "flood party" from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 31 in Martin Park to thank area residents for helping with sandbagging efforts during the flood event this summer. "We want to show our appreciation for the fact that we're not under water," Phillips said.

Food and games will be available -- all free and open to the public. In addition, Culver-Stockton will be offering free admission to members of the community to the college's home football opener that evening.

The board decided to return a $50,000 grant the city received from the Northeast Missouri Solid Waste Management District to pave a trail in Brose Park. Phillips said the costs for the project recently escalated well beyond the size of the grant, so the city is putting the project on hold and will "pursue something at a later date."

The board approved the appointment of Terry Scherer and the reappointments of Erin Allison and Patti Meldrum to the Library Board.

The board directed the city attorney to look into whether the city can reduce the size of the Parks Board from its current eight-person configuration to about five members.

"We're having trouble getting enough volunteers -- and a quorum -- at our Parks Board meetings, which makes it difficult to do business," Phillips said.

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