By Lisa Kaczke
Sun Current Newspapers
Breaking ground in Plymouth began as a vision a decade ago.
Hennepin County and municipal officials and law enforcement attended the groundbreaking for the new Hennepin County 911 Emergency Communications Facility. The new space, located at the Adult Corrections Facility, will feature 21 dispatch consoles, a 9,500-square-foot radio installation and electronic mobile equipment storage garage. County commissioners and Sheriff Rich Stanek lauded the new facility.
“This day has been about 10 years in the making,” Stanek said.
Stanek’s predecessor Pat McGowan began the planning for the new $33.7 million facility. It will provide 911 communications for 23 law enforcement agencies and 20 fire departments in 37 communities, and is expected to be completed in 2014.
“This is an important day for the people of Hennepin County and for all of the first responders in our communities who risk their lives to respond to emergencies,” Stanek said.
It’s also an important day for Hennepin County residents who expect 911 to work every time without fail.
The county’s current facility in Golden Valley was built in 1948 and has “seen better days,”said county Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Commissioner Jan Callison noted that the county has done a “wonderful job” with the current facility, but it’s time to build a new facility.
The current facility receives more than 6,000 calls. A new facility is a “critical need” because the county is growing and the facility will have room to grow, Stanek said.
Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik said the new facility will give the county the critical tools it needs to do its job effectively.
The county is always looking to the future in communications and expect that at some point in the future, residents will be able to send texts, photos and videos to 911 centers, Stanek said.
Once the new facility opens, Golden Valley and Hopkins are expected to join the list of cities who receive county 911 services. Several cities in Hennepin County will continue to maintain their own dispatch services, including Richfield, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and St. Louis Park.
Contact Lisa Kaczke at firstname.lastname@example.org.