Substation from the outside

The MCSO Havasu substation was built in 1984. The department has “outgrown this facility,” according to the MCSO 10 Year Strategic Plan.

Lake Havasu City gets about 1.5 million people each year, and it’s safe to assume that a good number of them drive into town off of Interstate 40. The city’s northern entryway offers glorious lake views and some pretty great retail opportunities. And then there’s the Mohave County Sheriff’s substation, probably one of the ugliest and certainly the most neglected public space in Havasu’s backyard.

Believe it or not, it’s worse on the inside. Sheriff Doug Schuster is happy to point out that the 1984 building has suffered from “major sewer issues,” holes in the roof, leaks and a failing air conditioner over the years. He calls it a giant patch job that requires constant maintenance, but his requests to county supervisors to replace the building have gone unheeded.

The time to replace the substation has long since passed. A couple of years ago, a proposal to build a regional substation (along with a county morgue and animal control center) using the remainder of proceeds from a special sales tax didn’t gain traction with supervisors, who instead put all those funds toward building a new courthouse in Kingman. That tax sunsets at the end of this year, and suggestions to extend it briefly to pay for the regional substation (along with a morgue and county animal shelter) didn’t go anywhere.

There’s a good argument that the sheriff’s substation should be moved entirely. As Lake Havasu City has grown around that substation, the sheriff’s department’s efforts would seem better concentrated in areas that don’t already have law enforcement services — areas like Desert Hills and Havasu Heights. Alternatively, the county could ditch the substation and expand its presence on the lake, where the sheriff’s department plays an important water safety role.

For now, Havasu is apparently stuck with what it’s got, but the county can still put lipstick on this pig. A little investment in the building and the grounds would at least ensure that it’s a little more eye-pleasing and more comfortable for the deputies who have to work there.

The good news is, some of those county supervisors who have long ignored Havasu’s needs will be driving right past that building on Monday as they head to their first board meeting in Lake Havasu City in years. A quick drive-by may be enough to convince them that something needs to change, but we hope they take the opportunity to pop in and see that mess for themselves.

— Today’s News-Herald

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