Three local conservative groups on Wednesday criticized the design and cost of a planned downtown public safety center. The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, the Wake County Taxpayers Association and North Carolina Americans for Prosperity said the safety center costs twice as much as they believe it should and placing the emergency communications center above ground makes it vulnerable.

The 300,000-square-foot Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center, which is projected to cost $205 million, would house the city’s police and fire departments, as well as its 911 operations center and other emergency services.

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