BATAVIA – A stately mansion for a prominent family. City Hall for nearly 100 years. Police Headquarters for the past nine years. An old mansion without today’s safety features and limited handicap access. The city wants to know what to do with it.
Built in 1853 the two-story brick structure with its signature cupola was the home of George Brisbane, son of Batavia co-founder, first retailer and postmaster, James Brisbane. A grandson – Arthur – would become the chief adviser and confidant of media mogul William Randolph Hearst.
The city acquired the then-vacant home in 1919 and converted parlors, bedrooms and living space into offices. It remained City Hall until 2004 when municipal departments were moved into a new wing at the Genesee Country Mall, a block away.
Police had been housed in a cramped addition since 1964, and took over the entire building in the move. Now the City Council will spend $45,000 for a consultant to study exterior and interior needs and future space requirements. Ten proposals have been received, and they are being reviewed.
One possibility five years ago was to take space in a new Genesee County Sheriff’s Headquarters on Park Road. However, no one wanted to move police from the center of the city although dispatch services on nights and weekends were shifted to the new site on the city’s northwestern border.
The police force numbers about three dozen with a $3.4 million budget. The newly appointed chief and his assistant will be part of the facility review team.