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Gilbert Seeks Voter Approval For Police, Fire Training Center
Gilbert is asking voters to approve a ballot measure to help the town train the next generation of police officers and firefighters.
A $65 million bond to help pay for a facility where its fire and police departments can train will be on the November ballot.
“The business case is clear that we need a public safety facility in order to really promote Gilbert to the next generation,” said Mayor Jenn Daniels.
The town’s analysis shows while its population continues to grow, 85 percent of police officers and firefighters are eligible to retire in the next seven years.
Gilbert first identified the need for a public safety training facility in 2005, but the Great Recession delayed construction.
The town originally planned to build the facility between Gilbert and Lindsay Roads near the San Tan Freeway in what is now its central business district.
Gilbert will ask voters in August for permission to sell that parcel of land.
The center is now planned for a 50-acre town-owned lot near Power and Pecos roads and will cost an estimated $84.6 million. Money from the town’s general fund and the previously mentioned land sale will pay for what the bond doesn’t.
The facility will include a driving track, classroom space and buildings to practice firefighting.
Mayor Jenn Daniels says the town’s depended on training new recruits in nearby cities.
“Now it’s really time, because of the quantity and the need we have, we really need to take matters into our own hands,” Daniels said.
If it’s approved, Gilbert residents would pay off the bond through the town’s existing secondary property tax.
“We want the voters to look at the business case like we have and make a determination for themselves: Is this something we should invest in as a community?” Daniels said.