New police department proposed in Blacksburg to potentially be funded by tax increase

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) It's no secret Blacksburg is growing. Some of those growing pains are forcing town leaders to make plans for bigger buildings, more parking spaces, and a higher tax.

The Blacksburg Police Department building is too small for the large staff the station has now. The town manager is proposing a new building.

"We don't have space on this existing site to rebuild it," said Marc Verniel, the Blacksburg town manager.

The Blacksburg Police Department is out of room. There are more than 60 officers who work here, when this building was built in the early 80's there were about two dozen.

"It's just inadequate nowadays so we've been looking for a few years to start to plan a new police station and look for a location," Verniel said.

The town would like to move the department from Clay Street to the former middle school property on South Main Street. But that idea isn't finalized.

Plans for the proposed 16 and a half million dollar building may not be available until a year from now.

Construction could begin in about three years. But the idea comes with a cost for taxpayers. The town manager is proposing a one cent real estate tax increase to pay for the new building.

"We'll propose that in the operating budget this spring and then council will deliberate on that through the budget process and make a decision in April," Verniel said.

Plans for a similar tax increase failed earlier this year.

Another proposed project could help ease downtown Blacksburg's parking issues.

The Progress Street parking garage is slated for construction here but won't happened until after 2020. Early cost estimates predict a nearly 9 and a half million dollar price tag.

The town is also making plans for a new rec center. When and where that will be built hasn't been determined.