The initial needs-assessment study on replacing Cocoa Beach's aging police station on South Orlando Avenue dates to 2003, Police Chief Scott Rosenfeld recalled.
Babies born that year are now legal adults — but Cocoa Beach officials have finally constructed a new, modern police station across the street from City Hall.
"This has certainly been a long time coming. Over the years, we've made repair after repair to our original building. Modified spaces to accommodate our operational changes, accreditation standards and staff assignments," Rosenfeld said.
"We've been through hurricane after hurricane, even being displaced after Hurricane Irma — for months working out of construction trailers," he said.
"Needless to say, we've learned to adapt and overcome throughout the years," he said.
Rosenfeld delivered those remarks during Friday's ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating Cocoa Beach's new three-story police station. The groundbreaking ceremony occurred in October 2020.
Cocoa Beach City Manager Jim McKnight said the police station cost should clock in at less than $9 million, and final costs are being tabulated. Roughly 90 people attended Friday's event.
By Wednesday, all police and support personnel relocated to their new headquarters at 85 S. Orlando Ave. The first- and second floor-lobbies will remain closed to the public for another week or so while records and property/evidence staffers settle in to their new offices.
Rosenfeld said the police department will host a public open house at the new station sometime after the holidays.
The shared Cocoa Beach City Hall-police station opened in 1962, during the waning years of NASA’s Project Mercury. Hurricane Irma's howling gusts inflicted about $1 million in damages in September 2017 — tearing off half of the roof and triggering months of emergency repair work.
"That old building was our home. My entire career as a cop and all my memories, good and bad, are in that old building," said Rosenfeld, who joined the department in 2000 as a police detective/officer.
"And the same for all of our past police personnel who are a part of the history of the Cocoa Beach Police Department. That was their home," Rosenfeld said.
"So to those who reported to 20 S. Orlando Ave. over the past 50-plus years — police officers, dispatchers, civilian staff, Police Explorers — you are all a part of our story. And I thank you for your dedication to the department and your service to this community," he said.
For essentially two decades, the Cocoa Beach City Commission debated varying scenarios on how to replace the city's aging police station, fire station and City Hall with larger, modern municipal facilities.
Cocoa Beach's 24,400-square-foot Fire Station 51 opened in February 2015. Then in May 2019, the city opened its three-story, 241-space municipal parking garage. The new police station is located next door.
McKnight said plans to replace City Hall still remain in the conceptual stage, and no timeline has been set.
On Dec. 9, Police Officer Dan Eschbach, a U.S. Army veteran, and Sgt. Ric Colon, a veteran of the Marine Corps, raised the U.S. flag at Cocoa Beach's new police station for the first time. The flag was then lowered to half-staff to honor the late U.S. Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, who died Dec. 5 at age 98.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: New Cocoa Beach police station dedicated during ribbon-cutting ceremony