- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham Mayor William Bell has proposed a $40 million plan for a public safety municipal complex.

Bell said the investment would move the municipal court, police and fire headquarters into the downtown area of Ensley, Al.com (https://bit.ly/2gMFnFy) reported. The project will include the rehabilitation of the 10-story, 50,000-square-foot Ramsay McCormack Building.

The move would be from downtown Birmingham. Bell made the announcement Wednesday.

Bell hopes the development can revitalize Ensley and produce residential and retail growth in the area. The plan requires approval from the Birmingham City Council.

The mayor said he doesn’t expect any resistance toward the plan.

“There is no rule to say that a police department has to be located in a downtown area,” he said.

But City Council president Jonathan Austin says the mayor’s office hadn’t notified the council about the proposed pan. He learned about the public safety complex through social media.

“This is just another example of not only failure to communicate with the council, but also (Bell’s) unwillingness to communicate with the council,” Austin said.

Bell said he wanted to let the community know about the plan instead of notifying the council first.

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper said the move would be great. He said the police department has needed a new facility.

“The current facility is outdated and antiquated,” Roper said. “It is just not sufficient for us to continue to provide police services in a modern society. To have something that is built up, that is built and designed for a police headquarters, that is what we need. We are excited for the proposal.”

If approved, the public safety complex will be built in phases with the first phase being municipal court, the second being police administration and the third being fire and rescue administration.

Andre Bittas, Birmingham’s director of planning and engineering, said the building is very stable.

“We took out the asbestos” Bittas said. “We are ready to start renovation of that building.”

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