BALDWYN | After two months of debate, the former NEMCC education lab trailer at Latimer Park will have a new official use as part of city property.
Baldwyn’s Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to accept the donation of the building from Prentiss County and convert it into a new police substation. Northeast Mississippi Community College removed the programs it had been leading there and no longer needed the building, leading the college and the county, which owned the trailer, to offer it to the City of Baldwyn at no charge.
The trailer will be set up for the sole use of the Baldwyn Police Department and will be used as a substation as well as for some training the department does not have space for now in its present facilities.
Two months of debate, however, had hinged on three factors: What would the city be accepting, what purpose would the city find for the building, and what additional liability could fall on the city with the new building and its various uses.
Mayor Roslynn Clark, who brought the donation to the Board’s attention in January, had initially suggested the city could use the building to house educational or volunteer programs, but in both January and February meetings aldermen couldn’t get comfortable with those ideas, citing concerns about actual use and liability. Tuesday, Clark presented a new idea for the building’s use when the matter came up on the agenda. She said her husband had the idea of potentially converting the trailer into restroom facilities for Latimer Park. The park and surrounding ballfields have long needed improved restrooms, but the city hasn’t been able to make that happen as of yet.
Alderwoman Angeleque Agnew Beene, however, pointed the board in the direction it ultimately ran when she spoke up, saying she thought the police department had indicated interest in the building. She also said she really liked the idea of a police presence in that area.
“(The Police Department) being more visible in that community over there would be perfect,” Beene said. “But I want the chief in charge of it.”
Alderman Ricky Massengill, who had voiced strong concerns about accepting the building, asked Police Chief Roy Ragin if Ragin could take on the building and do what he needed while still operating under his current budget. Ragin said he could.
It took some warming up to the idea of the city accepting the building as Massengill and Alderwoman-at-large Lynda Conlee had voiced concerns about any new liability, but ultimately the board voted unanimously to accept the building. Having the Police Department be solely responsible for it and it not housing public activities, which would reduce liability on the city, was ultimately the kicker that drew all aldermen in on the vote.