Unable to pass up the opportunity to move into a larger space and unwilling to give up a prime spot downtown, the Moorpark City Council voted Wednesday to keep a High Street police storefront open and open a larger storefront in the Town Center mall a few blocks away.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, the Moorpark Police Resource Center was opened a year ago at High Street and Moorpark Avenue. The City Council picked the spot in the hope that a visible police presence would make residents feel safer about coming to the city's historic downtown.
The problem has been that the program outgrew the 180-square-foot storefront almost as soon as it opened.
Cramped into the space are volunteers trying to answer questions or fingerprint youths, and officers trying to file police reports.
Looking for a bigger space to handle the demand, Councilman Pat Hunter negotiated a deal with the owner of the Town Center mall on Moorpark and Los Angeles avenues about two blocks away. The Town Center offered the use of a 1,200-square-foot former doctor's office. The owner gave the city free use of the office space.
But business owners on High Street and city officials were concerned about abandoning the successful High Street location. To move to another site on the street would cost the city tens of thousands of dollars, officials said, forcing some council members to reconsider.
"One of the strongest reason for us opening this was the location," Councilman Bernardo Perez said.
But under pressure from council members John Wozniak and Scott Montgomery, the rest of the council decided to take advantage of the Town Center offer, and keep the small High Street storefront open.