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MISSION HILLS SCHOOL SITE EYED ANEW FOR POLICE STATION.

Byline: Rick Orlov Staff Writer

Los Angeles police officials revived plans Friday that could include using the abandoned Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills as the site of a sixth San Fernando Valley police station.

It came as city officials began to look at using a $10.8 million windfall in property taxes from the state for the new police facilities and other projects.

``What the department has told me is that the Alemany site would be the best as far as location and in meeting all the other ingress and egress needs for a new station,'' said Councilman Alex Padilla.

``This is a golden opportunity to use this money for something we have long promised the taxpayers of the Valley.''

The 15-acre Alemany site was once home to 1,600 students at the school owned and operated by the Catholic Church. However, it suffered severe damage in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and had to be closed down.

Since, the archdiocese has considered a number of proposals for the site, but none have been put in place.

Police officials over the past several years have considered the site, but were unable to come up with specific plans or money to purchase it.

Use of the money for a new North Valley station that would include a second Valley Bureau headquarters received enthusiastic support from all Valley officials and others.

``It was a promise we made to the people with the 1989 bond issue,'' said Councilman Hal Bernson. ``I think a new North Valley station is exactly what we need.''

Richard Close, head of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association and chairman of Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment, said the proposal would go a long way toward providing more service in the Valley.

``No. 1, it fulfills a promise that was made a long time ago and for which we have been paying since 1989,'' Close said. ``Secondly, it provides a service that is very much needed. And, No. 3, it would help improve response times throughout the city.''

Padilla's proposal - which has the backing of Mayor Richard Riordan - was supported by council members Laura Chick and Mike Feuer, although Feuer cautioned against moving too quickly.

``We want to make sure we have the conditions for success and need details from the department on whether to start with temporary facilities or build a permanent station,'' Feuer said. ``We want to make sure we have the money to do this right and have to have details on all the costs. We can't create conditions for failure.''

Police Cmdr. Dan Koenig said the department's highest priority has been building another station in the Valley and Police Chief Bernard C. Parks has been pushing for the past year to create a second Valley Bureau to relieve some of the pressure on the current bureau.

Padilla's motion calls for allocating $6.3 million in savings that has been identified from the 1989 bond measure and earmarking $10 million of the new state money to be set aside for the police facilities.

The proposal also includes Riordan suggestions that $1.5 million be set aside to make street and sidewalk repairs in the Van Nuys Civic Center as part of the overall plan to improve the area.

Other projects include $1.6 million to make police station improvements to comply with the American with Disabilities Act, $3.3 million for diesel emission mitigation at fire stations, $200,000 to upgrade trailers at the Harbor and Pacific police stations and $500,000 to the General Services Department for other work.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 17, 1999
Words:593
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