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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
The Olney Police Satellite Station has a new lease agreement that should keep the facility in Olney for the next 15 years.
The station, in front of the former Giant Food store at 17821 Georgia Ave., has served the community since 1997, but its presence was in jeopardy when the previous lease expired, and the property was sold by Giant to a local investment group, Olney One Center LLC.
“This was a long, involved process, but through the cooperation and efforts of several people working on this, we have an agreement,” Olney Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jon Hulsizer said.
The satellite station functions as a place for officers to conduct roll call, write reports, eat lunch or use the restroom without having to leave the Olney area to return to the 4th District police station on Randolph Road in Glenmont.
Its presence is important for businesses and residents, as it shortens police response times and serves as a visible deterrent to crime.
Since its opening, funding has been coordinated through the Olney Chamber of Commerce and includes donations from community events such as National Night Out, along with contributions from local businesses, homeowners associations, organizations and residents.
The chamber purchased the trailer that houses the facility, and later expanded it to provide additional space and restrooms. The chamber coordinates and funds maintenance and upkeep, as well as other expenses, as needed.
Chamber board member Marc Rosendorf, an attorney, took the lead on the project, enlisting the support of county and state officials.
Rosendorf said he and Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Dist. 14) were involved in the initial negotiations with Tom Sebastian of Willard Retail, who was negotiating for the landlord.
He said County Executive Marc Elrich’s team finalized the details, with assistance from Police Chief Marcus Jones; Assistant Chief Dinesh Patil; District 4 commander Capt. Marc Yamada; Greg Ossent, deputy director of the Department of General Services, and Dale Tibbitts, special assistant to the county executive.
“We are pleased at how well the county executive worked on this,” Rosendorf said. “It’s a success story, and long-term plans down the road include some improvements to the facility.”
Rosendorf said at one point the county held the original lease, but eventually the Chamber of Commerce was asked to take it over.
The county has assumed the new lease for a “very modest” payment and it is now a line item in the county budget, Rosendorf said.
The amount of the lease was not available by press time.
“This is a great win for the Olney area to continue to have the presence of the police here,” he said.
Zucker said he and his District 14 colleagues know the satellite station is very important for the community and the greater Olney area.
“When we heard the lease was up and Giant no longer owned the property, we wanted to make sure that the police satellite station had a continued presence in Olney,” he said. “I’m happy we were successful in securing a long-term lease. This was really the state, county and chamber working together to get things done. This is how government is supposed to work.”
Zucker said Elrich (D) included it in the county’s budget and said it is up to the County Council to keep it there.
Zucker also said that council President Sidney Katz (D-Dist. 3), who chairs the Public Safety Committee, is very supportive of keeping it there.
Yamada was also pleased with the outcome, saying the satellite station is a huge bonus to the officers, while providing comfort to the community.
“To me it is clearly mutually beneficial,” he said. “It’s a great example of the vitally important partnership we desire and the community gives us.”
Yamada said the Olney Satellite Station is unique to the 4th Police District.
“That is a testament to how hard the chamber, the Greater Olney Civic Association and the community have worked for it,” he said.
Yamada said the facility is not staffed around the clock, so is considered a satellite station, not a substation.
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