The shovels were in the ground Monday afternoon on the site of FOP Lodge 5’s new headquarters in the Far Northeast.
Union president John McNesby was joined by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.), U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.), state Sen. Michael Stack (D-5th dist.) and state Reps. Kevin Boyle, Brendan Boyle and Ed Neilson as well as a host of FOP members as they ceremonially started work on the old IRS building at 11630 Caroline Road that will become the FOP’s new home.
“I didn’t think this day would ever come,” McNesby said, adding the union worked on acquiring the building and getting financing for at least two years.
Renovations are expected to be completed in seven months. The property had been a warehouse for 20 years before it served another 20 as an IRS data processing center.
The police union needed two variances so it could operate the industrially zoned property below Comly Road as a social club and have music. Normandy Civic Association members backed the FOP variance application during their January meeting. The union’s current headquarters is on Spring Garden Street in Center City. McNesby said 68 percent of the FOP’s members are from the Northeast, so putting the union’s headquarters and catering hall where they live is a convenience for them.
The current union hall is old, needs extensive repairs and the only available parking spots are on the street. The new facility would be a great catering hall, said the union president, adding that the $8 million in renovations are expected to be completed by December.
“This is a great space,” Ramsey said as he looked around the cavernous, stripped-down building. “I had no idea it would be as large as it is. Can we swap the Roundhouse for this?”
Normandy, a small neighborhood of less than 500 households, will soon be sandwiched by police facilities. The FOP lodge will be on the south end of the area, and the city’s new police training center is slated for the old reserve center on Woodhaven Road in the neighborhood’s north.EndFragment