Scope of crime lab in limbo

Demolition for the new crime lab last January.

The city is still examining options on more funding for the new Kansas City crime lab, Mayor Sly James said Tuesday.

Voters approved a plan for a state-of-the-art crime lab along with the new east patrol station, but massive cost overruns prompted the city to announce a smaller and cheaper lab.

The issue surfaced last month at a meeting of the board of police commissioners, when city officials asked them to approve the cuts.

Board President Lisa Pelofsky tabled the issue until Tuesday’s board meeting to try to come up with solutions. But after hours in closed session she and James declined to comment on the matter.

The crime lab was originally to be a $40 million, 71,000 square-feet building with the new east patrol station in the area of 27th Street and Prospect Avenue.

But what was to be a total $57 million project has ballooned to $74 million, the Kansas City Star reported.

That is largely because of high costs for acquiring 128 parcels in the four-block area and relocating about 60 residents.

Critics have questioned putting the project in such a dense area, but James says it brings development to the inner city and is fair to property owners there.

At this point, the Star reported Tuesday, the city wants a lab of 54,000 square feet with total construction costs of about $19 million. Police want a lab of more than $71,000 square-feet with a cost of $24.8 million.

Police reported Tuesday that they still have 19 buildings to demolish for the entire project.

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