Police move back to Westside station

After more than a year-long renovation, Costa Mesa police are moving some departments back into the Westside substation, which closed in Spring 2005 after the season's torrential rains left the station waterlogged and in need of repair.

The move doesn't mean the 18th Street substation is re-opening to the public. The police department is just shuffling around to make room for the future remodeling of the main police station on Fair Drive.

The department's property division — responsible for storing evidence and any lost-and-found items turned into police — began moving into the substation Monday and will later be joined by animal control, Costa Mesa Police Chief Steve Staveley said.

"There'll be police officers and police employees there, but it won't serve the same function it did in years past," Staveley said.

The Westside substation was closed following a bout of heavy rains during the winter months of 2005. The closure was estimated to last several months, but more problems were discovered during the initial cleanup.

The damage to the roof was much more expensive than planned and there was extensive mold damage inside the building, Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Marty Carver said.

"They ran into a lot bigger problems than they thought they originally had," Carver said.

The renovation is now complete, but while the property division uses the space there isn't enough room to run a substation, Carver said.

The substation, formally used as a public information point and for services such as fingerprinting, will return to its original function, but that could take several years, police said.

A neighborhood substation is important to the community, Staveley said.

"I think community-based environments like that for small numbers of staff are very appropriate because it provides a place for people to get together in their neighborhood," Staveley said.

Renovations to the main police station on Fair Drive are expected to start soon. The entire station will be moved into portables on the grass lawn between city hall and the police station, Staveley said.

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