HomeHaddonfield NewsBond ordinance passed for Bank of America purchase

Bond ordinance passed for Bank of America purchase

Mayor, chief want new police headquarters on the site

Members of the Lions Club, Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust and the Haddon Fortnightly received an April proclamation to name the month Lions Sight Awareness Month, Alcohol Awareness Month, Haddonfield Sculpture Month and Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Pictured are Bill Brown from the Lions Club and borough commissioners. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

The Haddonfield board of commissioners last month approved on second reading a bond ordinance for the purchase and construction costs of the Bank of America on Walnut Street. 

A previous bid was made at the board’s Jan. 10 special meeting for a new police headquarters there. Police are now housed in the basement of borough hall, which faces issues not easily fixed due to limited space. 

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When asked about the need for a new space, Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich and Police Chief Jason Cutler explained the request is a result of the Department of Corrections (DOC) cutting down on waivers it grants.

“We actually have consistently failed for 20 years the Department of Corrections’ requisites for operating a police station, and essentially every year, the chief gets a letter from the DOC saying. ‘We will grant you waivers for the continuing operation at this site,’” the mayor explained.

“They’re not just picking on Haddonfield,” said Cutler, who noted similar situations in Barrington, Collingswood and Haddon Township. “DOC is tired of 20 to 30 years of giving waivers, and the borough is not doing a thing.”

Issues with the basement site include wood-destroying organisms growing on evidence and an improper length of space in the area facilitating prisoner transport.

“The length of the hallway that they have to be walking through, and the contact that those individuals can come into with personnel or a victim or witness or others in the station, does not meet DOC requirements,” Bianco Bezich noted.

“ … We don’t have an American with Disability Act (ADA)-accessible holding cell, which violates ADA and DOC guidelines.”

Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough estimates that Haddonfield has spent between $250,000 and $300,000 on basement repairs in the last five years. While there were two concerned residents who requested more transparency on the purchase of a new building, Bianco Bezich explained that the board for now can’t release more details due to legal reasons.

“We cannot get into details about any purchase/acquisition, etc, because of the realities of that bid process,” she pointed out. “We are a public entity and we take that very seriously, but the parties that are involved on the other side are not always public entities, and when we engage in that process and try and move it forward, the last thing we can do is compromise that by violating provisions that we agreed to.

“ … We’re not trying to hide anything or looking like we’re not transparent,” the mayor added. “Unfortunately at this stage of where we are, we don’t have additional information that we are able to share.”

In other news:

  • Cutler publicly thanked three anonymous donors for the donation of a 2022  Hybrid Ford Explorer for K-9 Blue. The current vehicle will be decommissioned.
  • The borough named April Lions Sight Awareness Month, Alcohol Awareness Month, Haddonfield Sculpture Month and Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
  • Other ordinances passed on second reading included one for the preservation of a CAP Bank and another that would allow businesses to pay for trash collections on Saturdays in certain business districts.
  • Approved events for the borough include the Mayor’s Health and Wellness Festival in May and other annual holiday traditions like July 4th.

The next board of commissioners meeting will be Monday at 7:30 p.m.


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