Boys in blue go green at new Roxbury station
Top cop says $15M eco-friendly building all about ‘community’
It has a roof covered in eco-friendly, drought-resistant sedum plants, with a cherry wood lobby and slate floors, which may make some criminals think they’re being booked at the Cop Mahal. But the new $15 million District B2 police station is all about making the good people of Roxbury feel welcome.
“This is about more than just a new city building,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said at the ribbon-cutting yesterday for the soaring 34,500-square-foot, three-story sandstone-encased station built on the once-polluted site of the former Modern Electroplating Co. plant. “This project is really symbolic of the transformation that’s happening in Dudley . . . What was one of the worst Brownfield sites in our city is now a shining example of green building.”
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the thin blue line’s new green building, with its airy, windowed lobby and its attractive, sun-drenched community room, is a purposeful contrast with its gloomy concrete-and-brick predecessor, or as he called it, “the fortress next door.”
“This building is emblematic of a new philosophy in policing, where people matter,” Davis said, noting that the department realizes that it needs local residents to join in the battle against crime. “It emphasizes the true meaning of community policing.”
Asked how the city can lavish so much money on a precinct when it has been forced to lay off school teachers and close libraries in recent years, Meredith Weenick, the city’s chief financial officer, said its funding comes from bonds issued as part of a five-year, $1.7 billion capital improvement plan, not the operating budget.
“The B2 project has been in the pipeline for years, many years before the Great Recession” she said.
Catherine Hardaway of the Dudley Vision Advisors Task Force, a mayoral group charged with overseeing new city projects in the area, said one of the main goals of the new station was to create a place where citizens felt welcome.
“It’s much more of an open and inviting environment in here, from being in a closed, dark building over there,” she said, pointing to the old crumbling, paint-peeling B2 station. “People can look in and see and they can look out and see the community. And they feel a part of the community and connected to the police.”
Noting the community room’s 20-foot windows, she said, “The light puts you in a better mood. The sun is shining.”