Executive Director Andrew Neiditz released the following statement in response to the Pierce County Council resolution authorizing the use of county-owned property, 3580 Pacific Ave., for a new South Sound 911 facility:
We are extremely pleased to have officially secured a site for our public safety communications center and we are equally pleased that our services and employees are being welcomed into the community surrounding 3580 Pacific Ave.
As a testament to our commitment to the neighborhood we will become a part of, South Sound 911 agreed to “front” the funding for Pierce County to safely demolish the old Puget Sound Hospital as soon as early next year. It is no secret that the existing structures are unsafe and a nuisance. Their removal is important for our project and, more importantly, is long overdue.
The resources we have are entrusted to us by the public, and I have stated many times that I believe we can build South Sound 911’s public safety communications center on budget. We will continue to diligently account for all funds spent – and fronted for the demolition – to ensure we preserve the public’s trust.
We will be scheduling our first community meeting in the coming weeks. We look forward to the opportunity to share our plans and solicit feedback during this process.
In November 2011, residents of Pierce County voted for a 0.1 percent sales tax increase to support public safety, which included the consolidation of 911 centers. Since then, South Sound 911 has been working on projects and processes in support of the unification effort, including the construction of a new facility.
In September, South Sound 911’s Policy Board approved the use of up to $2.6 million for the demolition of the old Puget Sound Hospital. Demolition costs are the responsibility of the property owner (Pierce County), and these funds will be loaned to the county specifically for demolition costs. The funds will be repaid to South Sound 911 through reduced lease payments over a yet to be determined timeframe. Demolition costs have not been finalized.
For more information about South Sound 911’s public safety communications center, visit the project web page.