Wetumpka purchases Wells Fargo building for new police station
WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - On Jan. 19, a tornado caused major damage in the city of Wetumpka, including at the Wetumpka Police Department building.
Two days after the tornado, Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis said he reached out to Wells Fargo to start negotiations on the possibility of the city acquiring the bank’s property for the new police station.
A deal was finalized for the property on Tuesday.
“It’s a great day in Wetumpka,” Willis said. “We have been able to finalize an agreement between Wells Fargo Bank and the city of Wetumpka for the purchase of the Wells Fargo Building.”
Willis said the city originally talked about the bank gifting the building in exchange for a tax credit.
Instead, after weeks of back-and-forth negotiations, the city council approved to pay $500,000 for the property, which appraised at $1.5 million, according to Willis. Essentially, the bank made a $1 million gift to the city of Wetumpka, Willis said.
“We are just extremely happy that they chose to make an investment in our city,” Willis said.
The police will be back in the busy and visible area of Highway 231, but they are not walking away form the west side of town. There will still be a police presence through a satellite type station on the west side of the Coosa River.
The police chief and his staff have been inside the new building and know it will work for the. The two-floor building has an elevator, vault to store weapons, nice kitchen and day room for the police offices.
Willis said his goal is for the property to be ready in about three months. There are very few modifications that need to be made, and the city is equipped and ready to make all the changes.
In the agreement with the city, Wells Fargo will be leaving their ATM on the property. It will not interfere with police work, Willis said.
“Matter of fact, it will be a very safe ATM with police presence,” Willis added. “It worked out for them, and it worked out for us.”
The location of the previous police station that was destroyed by the tornado has been cleared, and Willis could see developers taking over the area in the future.
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