The future of the new West Precinct is unclear. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
Construction began years ago on a new West Precinct for the Birmingham Police but the project still isn't finished.
"We work in an environment that's totally unacceptable. There's wiring hanging from the ceiling. It's sad, deplorable," said a Birmingham west precinct police officer who did not want to be identified in fear of harassment or losing his job.
The officer says at times the smell of sewage lingers inside the existing west precinct because of a plumbing issue.
"The two coldest days of the winter in January, we had no heat in our building," the officer said.
Officers have to work in those conditions because the construction on the new site, across from the Birmingham Crossplex, is at a standstill.
"They broke ground before Region's Field, broke ground before the tornadoes came through and tore up the library in Pratt City. They moved into the library, the fire station almost complete and yet we are at a standstill," said the officer.
"It concerns me greatly. It seems to me that when projects happen on West of I-65, it takes forever," Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt said.
The precinct is in Councilman Hoyt's district. He says the money was allocated for the $2.5 million project, all taxpayer dollars, and it was set to open back in 2012.
"I've asked consistently every month -- sometimes every week -- relative to when we can expect to have this project finished," said Hoyt.
Hoyt says he has been asking that question for the past year and he also has no answers about what has been holding up the project.
"I was told they need additional money. We did that. I got my colleagues to agree to give an additional $250,000 for them to finish work and they would have a new contractor. And it's yet to be done," said Hoyt.
Hoyt says with a potential budget deficit, the city doesn't have any more money to put towards the completion of the precinct.
FOX6 News called the mayor's public information officer hoping to get Mayor William Bell to respond, but our phone call wasn't returned.