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12th Street demolition begins

Demolition work on the old 12th Street Thrift Store in Little Rock began Monday to make room for a new police substation.
The plan is to tear down a building to help build the neighborhood back up. 

Demolition work on the old 12th Street Thrift Store in Little Rock began Monday to make room for a new police substation.  Organizers hope this public investment encourages private ones.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, at the controls of a trackhoe, got the demolition started.

"The investment of the city and our tax dollars into public safety is absolutely number one," said Stodola, "The number one issue that we have to address."

Little Rock's Police Chief says just the changing appearance of the building could actually have an effect on crime.

"There'll be officers coming to and from this facility all day long everyday through the weekends," says Chief Stuart Thomas. "So there's going to be a heightened sense of our presence in the neighborhood just from the fact that we start and finish here."

Besides safety, city leaders also hope the new substation could help attract new private businesses to the area.

"When they see that this area that has a problem with reality and perception of crime has a substation here," says City Director Ken Richardson, "this is the institutional anchor that will allow us to bring in those additional funding sources."

Demolishing the thrift store is expected to take about a month. Chief Thomas says the police substation should be operational in about a year.
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