BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The McFarland Library for months has been the center of a citywide debate.
Relocate the library and allow the city’s police department to move in? Or keep things the way they are?
The Kern County Administrative Office is recommending that the McFarland Library stay a part of the county instead of being turned into the new building for the city’s police department.
The recommendation comes after the McFarland City Manager and Police Chief Kenny Williams began looking into a new home for the police department being the current McFarland Library.
“We had a tentative place for the library to move into and that was a good option for the library,” McFarland Police Chief Kenneth Williams said.
It started when a unified front from the City of McFarland, McFarland’s Recreation and Parks department and the McFarland Unified School District jointly submitted a letter to the Kern County Board of Supervisors asking them to sell the McFarland Library property to the city. The groups said the library had been running at partial capacity, whereas the police department which is in desperate need of a new building would utilize it night and day.
“We have one office area that houses all of our police officers and I have a total of 13 officer sworn and we only have six desks,” Williams said.
The city has a multi-million dollar bond they can use for the new police department, but Williams says its not enough.
“There’s a $3.3 million bond left to build the police department but that’s not enough to build one from ground up,” Williams said. “We looked at the library because it’ll allow us to go in and remodel which is a lot less than that.”
Fourth District Supervisor David Couch said he’s toured the police department, spoken with all the city leaders and no one has argued against the city needing a new police facility.
“I believe we owe them to at least have an informational item on the agenda,” Supervisor Couch said. “I really want to help the City of McFarland get a new police department and I don’t want to shut down any doors, so I think there’s no need to rush.”
Supervisor Couch said this item could be on the Board of Supervisor’s agenda as early as September.
The Kern County Administrative office said the McFarland Library will be opening back up to five days a week later this fall.