The Philadelphia Memorial Armed Forces Reserve Center on Woodhaven Road in Normandy will be used as a training facility for units of the Philadelphia Police Department.
It will be the department’s training bureau campus, said John J. Gaittens, deputy commissioner for Organizational Support Services.
Veteran officers will get advanced training there, and recruits will be trained too, Gaittens said. The firing range will remain on the Police Academy property on State Road.
The property, now owned by the U.S. Department of Defense, will be transferred to the police department on July 1, Gaittens said.
The department will not be charged for the 9 acres it is getting through the federal Base Realignment and Closure Program. The city has been working on acquiring the property since 2006, he said.
The city will renovate the 80,000-square-foot building and 9,000-square-foot garage to suit its needs. That will take about a year, he said.
He added that police dispatchers will also be trained at the facility, at 2838–98 Woodhaven Road, and police radio — the Crime Information Center — will be located there too.
In July, after the Army and Marines move out, a security detail will be put in place, Gaittens said.
Members of the Normandy Civic Association discussed the federal building’s new use during their May 18 meeting at the Norcom Community Center.
Residents said they were concerned about increased traffic passing through their neighborhood. Those traffic worries were the same as they had been in February 2007 when a police training facility was first being discussed as a use for the reserve center.
The property’s main entrance is on Woodhaven Road, but that can be reached only by going through the small neighborhood’s Norcom Road.
Another entrance is gated at the end of Joseph Kelly Terrace, a private road that has 17 residences on one side and a wooded area owned by the Northeast Airport on the other.
One Joseph Kelly Terrace resident said there is an easement on his deed that allows for military traffic on the street, but no other traffic.
Gaittens said he believes there is a plan to put in an access road from Thornton Road, but he doesn’t know if money for such a road has been budgeted. ••