Kenyon is Proud of New Police Station
Lee Sjolander, Kenyon, Mn. Police Chief since 2008, Mark Vahlsing, Kenyon City Administrator since 2013, Mayor Doug Henke, a Californian who moved to the small Minnesota town in 2015 all praised the community on KDHL today.
We stopped by the new Police Station and received a tour before our AM Minnesota visit.
Sjolander has lived in the community since 1996. He worked for the Goodhue County Sheriff's Department for a decade with a stint as the Kenyon officer when the town contracted with the County to provide law enforcement services.
He says he loved working for Goodhue County because he learned so many things in various areas of law enforcement.
When the Kenyon City Council decided to go back to a community based police force Sjolander did not hesitate applying for the Chief position. He says, "Kenyon is a great town. There's a vibe here. People care about each other."
Vahlsing and Henke echoed those sentiments saying the town is, "Filled with good people."
The US Census 2019 estimated population of Kenyon was 1,801.
The new Kenyon Police Station is in what was formerly an ambulance garage built in 1999. The ambulance service lasted less than a decade.
Mayor Henke says it took awhile to make the move because there were a few dominoes that had to fall, "It had always been in talking a little bit but it really hadn't been moved forward until the old fire hall was sold. The old fire hall was stored here for awhile. We knew that it had to go forward and have a decent building. It seemed like everything then just fell into place."
Sjolander loves the extra space compared to the small facility that was previously the police station about 75 feet to the west on the same side of the main thoroughfare of Kenyon, Second Street.
"We have a double stall heated garage now which is larger than what our patrol area was over there so a much nicer facility. We're still on main street which is what I like. If you're coming through town and need something we have a nice sign in front and I have to give the Mayor props for that. Because he said I want the sign to match the sign at the Municipal Liquor Store. It really turned out well."
"We took the old signage off the old building and put it on the Langford Avenue side of the building." Sjolander explained, "So really when you're coming into town you can see Police on this building from a couple different locations. The sign we have now is visible going either way on Second Street."
The Kenyon Police Chief says, "Old medications can be dropped off inside the front door of the new station. It's open 24/7 so you can drop your prescriptions off and then we have those incinerated."
The Police food pantry is still at the previous building, " We have a 24/7 food pantry. That front door is unlocked. There's food there and again our public stocks that for us. They bring things in and drop it off. We see everything from hats and gloves to coats, you name it, hygiene products. All kinds of stuff is dropped off."
Another example of the kind of people who live in Kenyon.
Vahlsing says the community is growing, "We had a record number of home permits in 2020. Approximately 13 homes. In a normal year since I've been here we've had maybe four to five homes go up a year."
Vahlsing adds, "Houses here turn over so fast. In particular in the older parts of town. They sell almost immediately. The values in the last few years continue going up."
The Kenyon City Administrator commented, "It was the weirdest thing this last year with the pandemic. I mean you would think the real estate market would have tanked. Actually it just went bonkers. Even more than it already had been. Especially new home construction."
You can hear the podcast of the show below.
Check out some of the pictures I took inside the new Kenyon Police Station.
Speaking of real estate (sort of) check out this Minnesota home.