The discussion about where the expanded Bozeman Cops and Courts facility will be built has come full circle. After a defeat by voters of a bond to build the facility off North Rouse, it seems that the discussion is building for the facility to be built in tandem with Gallatin County off South 19th – the original incarnation of this plan.
SQUARE ONE – plans are in the works to once again come up with a joint cops and courts building between Bozeman and Gallatin County.
Hannah Stiff and Michael Tucker, The Belgrade News
The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council voted Wednesday to draft a letter in support of a joint cops and courts campus between Bozeman and Gallatin County.The council listened to county capital improvement program committee chairman Dave Weaver as he recommended a united front going forward.
“Momentum is building,” Weaver said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it seems like a tremendous opportunity for the collective to communicate with the city and county commission.”
The CJCC collective includes Gallatin County judges, lawyers, the sheriff, Belgrade Chief of Police EJ Clark, County Commissioner Don Seifert and community stakeholders from non-profit groups, drug and alcohol services, victim services and mental health services. Both the city and county have been looking to build new police and sheriff’s stations as well as courts for some time. The idea was to keep law enforcement entities, municipal, justice and district courts and the detention center together on one campus. The county owns 20 acres the current Law and Justice Center sits on. The land was to be the cops and court campus. A 2011 memorandum of understanding between Gallatin County and the City of Bozeman states that both parties invested nearly $100,000 to develop a needs assessment and Master Plan for the joint law enforcement and courts facilities.The Master Plan calls for constructing two new buildings on either side of the detention center — one for courts and the other for city and county law enforcement.
The MOU also states that either party could start building before the other, so long as they did so on the law and justice campus, off South 19th Ave. in Bozeman.The Master Plan that lays out how the city and county would share space, facilities, equipment, machinery, utilities and infrastructure was accepted by the county commission in Aug. 2011.
But after years of discussion, the city decided to go its own route and ask voters to approve a $23.8 million facility to house Bozeman Police and the municipal courts. The new facility was to be located at the corner of Tamarack and Rouse avenues. Bozeman voters shot down the measure in November and city and county stakeholders started re-thinking the idea of a joint law and justice center. City and county commissioners have set a July 1 deadline for deciding how to proceed with the cops and court facilities.