What is the highest and best use for the “retiring” Police Station building at the corner of Washington and Columbia a block west of the Clinton County Courthouse Square in Frankfort?
Some ideas are listed below.
The Partners in Progress (PIP) board met on Tuesday January 24th at the Frankfort Police Station for a tour and idea session to brainstorm future use of the Police Station building at 201 West Washington Street. This building will be vacated as early as Mid June and no later than November 1st. The usual move is referred to as “end of summer”.
The PIP Partners in Progress board meets monthly and includes the Frankfort Mayor, County Council and County Commissioner President, CEO of the Chamber, Area Plan Director, Chamber of Commerce President, Farmers Bank President, former Council leadership and community leaders from Agriculture, Industry and Business. January’s meeting was focused on contemplating possible uses for the “retiring” Police Station on West Washington Street.
Charity Keller, Police Department Administrative Specialist, led a tour of the sturdy building, now over 100 years old. The group then met in the conference room to brainstorm possible ideas for the building.
Mayor Sheets said City might be interested in making the building available to an approved/qualifying non-profit organization or entity at low cost if the building use would deliver a long term benefit for the City of Frankfort.
What is the best use for this building now owned by the City of Frankfort?
Ideas (with explanation if needed)
- Safety Village for teaching safety to Children/ Fire Safety Museum and training center/Public Safety Building/Tornado Shelter
- History Museum: Clinton County and Indiana History
- Climate-Controlled Storage/residential downtown storage for items needing secure climate controlled space such as collections, rare items, etc.
- Shopping Mall with Boutique and Retail
- High-end Hotel/Restaurant
- Art Studios and Museum with Sales area for display/Art Museum
- Secure Data Center for back up/secure storage of critical data.
- Law Enforcement “sub station”. Lost bikes, downtown office and presence, work area during events and festivals, etc.
- Downtown Shooting Gallery
- “Wow! Science and Discovery Museum”: Dental station, “Radio Broadcasting Station” with real mic and camera, stripped aircraft for “piloting” with pilots talking in background, aberration mirrors for kids to look at themselves in funny shapes, kids stage with different back drops and dress-up with light and sound effect controls, reading station with big tree, pillows and play house, Astronomy with telescope aimed at Courthouse clock, Magnifying Glass Micro Scope and bug collection, map reading, Farm display, Farm toys, Weather display with sound effects and video, 3 D printer, Lego world, Kid’s event center for birthday parties, dinosaur station, nerf ball target practice station, Pizza Shop, Police/Fire dress up and fun station with stripped down fire truck, “inside of things” station with clocks, watches, computer, dissecting models, guts of Radio and TV sets on display, “Keep yourself healthy” station (promote diet, sleep and exercise including what is a good diet), gift store with learning toys, Model train set, music station with string instruments, mallets, drums, key board, 100 things to do outside station, Camp Cullom Station with 3-D map of camp, Tool station with all kinds of different tools to play with, Bone and skull station with real skeletons of cows, raccoons, deer, snakes, etc., wonders of nature station with meteorites, fossils, gem stones, etc., what are you going to be in 15-20 years station with 200+ job ideas pictured in place or uniform, Bill of Rights station with video(s), constitution, small kids theatre with “What’s in Clinton County” movie on auto play.
- Glam Camping: Indoor camping which could be low cost but have some amenities expected in a hotel room.
- Small Bowling Alley and Arcade
- County or City Offices
- Railroad Museum with Model Railroad Display showcasing local railroad history and railroading in America. May include impressive Model Railroad layout for viewing and play.
- Library Genealogy Center
- Professional Offices for Doctors, Physical Therapy, Eye Doctor, Nurse Practitioners, Optometrist, Law or include business office i.e. Insureance, Computer repair, printing/graphics, etc.
- Bed and Breakfast: May be Historically Themed to match architecture
- Civic/Community Theatre and/or Children’s Theatre with prop storage, performance area, lighting/sound booth, refreshment area, admin offices
- Specialty Food Court
It is often helpful in early stages of this brainstorming process to just “Green Hat” some possible uses, without putting on the brakes on ideas just yet. As creative ideas are gathered, these ideas may inspire other, even better ideas.
At some point in the process, of course, the “Black Hat” will have to be worn and the “get real” voice in the room can “shoot down” ideas that are simply not workable or even possible. Usually the “Black Hat” in the room is best saved after initial ideas are captured on paper. This is the acclaimed “Disney” thinking method used by Walt Disney to create Disneyland and Disney World and other creations in the Disney Corporation.
Considerations: No elevator to basement or second/third floor and ADA compliance through back door only. Tile roof in good shape. Boiler in basement old but working. Many small offices now exist without load-bearing walls could be removed. Structure very strong with Marble and iron railings and decorations, Built early 1900’s.
Kaspar Media will follow up with interior pictures of the building and report other ideas for the building. We invite public involvement and ideas in this process. Your idea might be the best use for the next chapter in the life of this building that started as a Post Office in the early 1900’s.
Storage? No. Business offices? Don’t we have enough of those taking up space downtown? How about an emergency shelter house for those that need it. Build on that and include a food pantry and other things that would help those that need it. The one we have is ok, but small.
Was thinking the same. Homeless need shelter.
I’d love to see a museum of some sort, or a fine dining restaurant something to draw people to Frankfort. We need thing to draw people to draw some sort of attraction
A Museum showcasing the history of Frankfort and Clinton County would be a great use of the facility.
I love the bowling alley idea , theres no where in Frankfort to bowl. and do not allow league’s thats what ruined our old alley .
Make it something for the kids aren’t here so they stop getting into trouble with to much times on their hands.
Like a hang out center for after school and the weekends. With arcades and pool tables. (Something similar to boys and girls club)
It would be a great Railroad Museum! It could include the local people that worked the railroad, from building to engineering, those shoveling coal, and those installing crossing lanterns, and show off the newest in rail road computer technology. I would love to see the old maps of “local” routes; my family spoke of the ride to Hillisburg and back, to visit family on a regular basis. The railroad connects Frankfort to the rest of this country! I think it could be a great little Destination site for our town and Clinton County, for model train collectors, cross country wanderers, elementary field trips, and genealogists.
Definitely not a museum! We need to draw families to Frankfort…we need retail, dining, downtown hotel, activity center!
It would be great to have a Museum showcasing our city’s history and the Railroad.
It is a historical building so would be nice to use it for historical purpose, museum, etc. Possibly a genealogy dept in it also.
Salon suites like they have in many other cities. Small suites for individual self employed stylists, massage therapists, tattoo artists, etc.
I like the railroad museum idea. Train Layouts and history about the local train yards, roundhouse and other historical railroad information.
Hmmm…maybe we should take a common sense approach… Education and Reform! Did you know that federal prisoners are held in Clinton county? Education is not enforced at a certain age of YOUNG! Reform is not passionate enough. Sure we probation and rehab, but if they can’t get employment because of the lack of education and motivation they will end up back where they were in the county jail. There they are educated on tattoos, gambling, and they next guy the can sell stuff for. Probation tells them what to do to stay out of jail,but without education and motivation they end up making that quick dollar just to get by another week or month until the next appointment. The rehab facility can sign them out anytime just because they want to? Where’s the passion for reform? If you head is not into rehabilitation you don’t need to be there? Do these rehab teachers know what an addiction does to people? Do they not have the passion to want to change the way an addict thinks? I don’t believe so. I believe with education and reform we would have less repeat offenders! We could be a lot more passionate about helping people succeed in life instead of digging a hole so deep that they are overwhelmed enough to give up and go back to what was easier way to make that dollar. Everyone.. even the ones in jail have a passion for success.. why not find that passion and turn it into something meaningful. Find teachers who are actually passionate for reform instead of pushing demands that some people don’t have the means for… like digging the financial hole that puts them back in jail. Give the low level offenders a chance to actually explore options that could make them be a productive citizen in society. Give homeless people a little light at the end of that tunnel. If you don’t have a dollar to your name, you might think you have to steal so you don’t starve. That is where reform can help. How can you find funding for a museum and not education and reform? I don’t believe I know any rich people sitting in jail anyway.. most of them are struggling with addiction, dealing and stealing. Those people can be educated and reformed a lot easier with the right teachers. Let them out in society with a little hope for their future. If it helps 5 out of 10 people then that would be success. Helping others better their future is far more beneficial than digging a financial hole they can’t get out of. They only reason a small town wants to draw many people to is for money. The world isn’t getting any nicer and common sense is slowly drifting away. We need people who care and work together. We don’t need to constantly worry about our children or adults overdosing on drugs and becoming homeless because of the lack of education or resources.
We have good people working hard on providing resources in the community. I know for a fact there is a new building being ready to be made available to those who need it. There is money coming in and going to the right places. I believe are doing all we can but there’s always more to do. Maybe your idea is what will end up being done. Somewhere in the middle is the answer.–Kevin Keith