With the potential offer of a USDA grant, Covington’s city leaders are talking once again about a new police department facility.
It’s a possibility that doesn’t usually exist.
“I’ve been doing this for 30-something years and I’ve never seen the USDA give this much money,” said Pat Harcourt, the CEO of the architecture and engineering firm A2H. Harcourt worked with the city to design plans for the building in 2017.
Though the cost of construction has “skyrocketed,” Harcourt said, and the entire project – from asbestos abatement and demolition to new construction – will now cost an estimated $7.7 million to complete the community facilities grant could help with an estimated $1.5 million in costs.
The City of Covington, said USDA’s Walt Downing, is the only local municipality eligible to apply for the community facilities grant. If awarded, it will help only after loan funding has been used.
Concerned about affordability, city leaders discussed current debt and ways to cut expenses with the building. There’s a possibility neither the court room nor indoor shooting range will be included in the plans, should they move forward, for instance.
“Even if we get the loan and we get the grant, we’re not obligated to build anything, and we’d have to use the loan before the grant,” said mayor Justin Hanson. “We don’t really want to let that pass by because Tipton County was one of the few eligible counties and Covington was the only eligible city.”