A group of architects has donated plans to build a state-of-the-art police station for Tamarindo, a booming tourist town on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast. Community leaders now just need the money to build it.
Tamarindo’s squad of 20 police officers –including officials from the National Police, Tourism Police and Municipal Police – has been operating out of a local hotel, Cabinas Maleko, since December.
When the office that had been donated temporarily by a developer for police use was bulldozed last year, Tamarindo was left in the care of just six officers, stationed in the neighboring town of Villareal, three kilometers away.
According to Federico Amador, director of the Tamarindo Improvement Association, a community group that helps bring more services to the area, the officers had neither vehicles nor a telephone. “There was no way to protect anybody,” Amador said.
Business owners and residents in Tamarindo, organized through the association, pooled their money to rent three rooms and an office at Cabinas Maleko, given to them at a discounted price of $2,000 a month, including electricity and water bills. The association paid up front for six months on Dec 15. Checkout was scheduled for Sunday.
Amador, however, said that a deposit put down in December will allow the police to stay at the hotel for another month, as the association looks for a way to come up with more rent money and funds to turn the blueprints for the police station into a reality.
“We have contacted the Public Security Ministry, and they have indicated that they possibly will pay the rent,” Amador said. “It has been too much work to get here.We can’t lose this.”
The association is also looking to drum up money and support for the police station from the national government, but has yet to get a response, Amador said. Meanwhile, a group of Tamarindo developers and real estate offices is hoping to raise $25,000.
Jürgen Gerner, owner of ABC Realty in Tamarindo, said the money is to be held in an escrow account set up by Chicago Title.
The group is still waiting for the ministry’s approval of the plans for the police station.
The plans, donated by a group of architects who have asked to remain anonymous, outline a 350-square-meter building that would have space for the police agencies as well as the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and the prosecutor’s office, agencies that currently do not have offices in Tamarindo.
Construction would take eight months, and the total cost of the building plus the necessary equipment would be between $400,000 and $800,000, Amador said.
“It needs radios, beds, air conditioners, kitchen equipment, desks and so on,” Amador said. “Building it is simple, but what do they do with an empty building?”