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CREVE COEUR, MO (KTVI) – Creve Coeur has just been recognized as one the top places to live in America but you wouldn’t know it from touring its City Hall and Police Department.

When you see file cabinets stacked around bathroom urinals, you see why there’s a push for a close a $10.69 million project which would include the construction of a new, Creve Coeur Police Department.

If the building looks like an old school, that’s because it is:  the former Weber Elementary School in the Parkway School District, built in 1951.

Creve Coeur City Hall and Police Department moved there in 1989.

“There’s just inherent conflicts in the building.  I think it’s time we move our police department into a separate facility,” said Creve Coeur Mayor, Barry Glantz.

“We have a huge space need,” said Creve Coeur Police Chief, Glenn Eidman.

The need was evident from the crowded parking lot to the cluster of holding cells.  They may seem fairly modern but there’s not enough space to separate men and women so police have to cover cell windows with large magnetic strips for privacy as suspects are taken in and out.

“It is kind of embarrassing to do it that way,”  Eidman said.  “We really do need to have sight and sound separation for males and females.  We do not have a juvenile holding facility. We’re out of space.”

So spaces often have dual functions. Storage rooms are packed.  So squad rooms handle storage, too.  The shift command houses police reports.

The storage space the Police Department does have takes space away from City Hall.

So hallways of the old school have been converted for the storage needs of other city departments.  Old bathrooms have, too.

Yet, storage is not the issue.  Policing is.

“One of the things we really struggle with is interviews with citizens, crime victims who come into the lobby to report a crime,” Eidman said.  “When we have to interview people we just don’t have the space for that.  Most of those are conducted in the front lobby of the police department while other community events are going on.”

“People want to live and work in a safe environment.  Our police department provides that for us,” Glantz said.  “They provide it out of this building.  They do a remarkable job.  But if we hold them to those high expectations then I think we as a community can invest in the future of what we want our police department to do.”

The plan is to put Proposition P on the November ballot.  It’s a property tax hike to cover the 20-year bond issue that will pay for the project.  The Creve Coeur City Council will vote on it August 22nd.

As for the size of the tax hike, it would add about $60-a-year in taxes on a $400,000 home, Glantz said.