It has been a long time coming, but Lincolnton's new police station is now open at the corner of East Main and North Flint Street, across the road from the former location that had served since 1993.
From the beginning, there had been talk about renovating or replacing the former First Pilot Savings & Loan location that was home to the police department since it was moved so City Hall could be renovated.
Old-timers who have lived in Lincolnton for half a century or more may remember when City Hall and the Police Department were in a building at the corner of East Main and South Poplar streets--where First Federal Savings Bank is now located. Back then, the fire department was in the second block of East Main Street. When the current City Hall was built, the police department was moved there, too, although it had separate entrances.
In 1993, the police department was relocated to the location where it remained until this year.
In 2011 Dennis Williams drew up plans for renovating the building for the police department. It was discussed during budget talks, but was never included in the city budget.
Then in 2018, the owners of the building that had once housed Rite-Aid Pharmacy, their lease agreement with Rite-Aid having expired, decided to sell. The City had been interested in the property since the drug store closed, but the owners were still collecting lease payments every month, so they weren't that interested in selling. In 2018, that changed--and they advertised the property for an absolute auction. The City was eager--and nobody else was--and the price was a bargain.
In June 2018, the City Council voted unanimously to authorize the purchase for $690,000. The Council agreed to take $1 million from the city's electric fund to cover buying the building and renovating it for the police department. That money will be paid back to the electric fund over a period of 15 years.
The new location is centrally located; people are already familiar with the police department being at that intersection--just on the other side of Flint Street; and the move means that the City will no longer have to pay rent every month for a separate location for the detective division.
Because of the pandemic, Chief Rodney Jordan said there had been no plans for a big 'grand opening.' "We may, once this virus has subsided, have some kind of event and let the public take tours of the building, but for now, we felt it was prudent to avoid any large gathering."
Chief Jordan said he was approached by Scout Troop 75 from First United Methodist Church about doing a flag-raising at the new police station. "We intentionally didn't advertise it," the Chief said, "we knew the scouts' parents would want to attend and, of course, the Mayor and City Council were there; but we didn't do any tours. The ceremony was brief; it was outdoors; and I think everybody came wearing a mask."
Troop 75 does many community projects. One of them is a flag-burning, disposing of tattered flags, on Flag Day every June. Teddy Reed is the Scoutmaster and Doug Hancock is the Assistant Scoutmaster.