There was already excitement in the air Friday morning as the public and members of the Venice Police Department gathered to break ground on the new city Public Safety Facility on East Venice Avenue.
Police Chief Tom Mattmuller, City Manager Ed Lavallee and Mayor John Holic were among the dignitaries who applauded the citizens of Venice for supporting the project. Holic said it was the highlight of an era of monumental capital projects and improvements that have improved lives of residents throughout the city. He then yelled out, “Let’s throw some dirt!”
Dignitaries, officers and their families, and members of the public took turns breaking ground using more than 20 shovels provided.
The new state of the art building, designed and constructed by the same team that built the new Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center, is expected to be completed in August 2020.
Construction manager Ajax/Tandem Construction began initial clearing for the new Public Safety Facility last month and will continue to clear, excavate and grade in preparation for the foundations, said Detective Sergeant Rob Goodson, Venice Police Department representative for the project.
The site is located on 10 acres along the 1500 block of East Venice Avenue. The project, currently budgeted at $17.6 million, is mostly funded through a $16 million public safety bond approved by city voters in November 2016.
Dewberry is the project’s architectural firm. The facility will be 31,421 square feet and hardened to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds in excess of 157 mph. In the event of a hurricane, it will turn into an Emergency Operations Center for city staff, according to a press release.