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Hilton Head Island Town Council on Tuesday purchased a 10-acre property behind Pineland Station that officials said was a potential site for a future law enforcement center that also could house the municipal and magistrate courts. 'The town paid about $1.1 million to Pineland Mall Associates for the commercial property, which has frontage on Mathews Drive and abuts residential developments The Oaks, Hilton Head Gardens and Woodlake Villas. 'Town Manager Steve Riley said centralizing police services "in the heart of the Tri-Community" would help deter crime in the area, long a concern of local officials. 'Riley said the town expects to work with Beaufort County to plan "a permanent home for law enforcement" and the courts on the midisland property because both entities would stand to benefit from the facility. He said there was no time line for the proposed project. 'A law enforcement center on the property, Riley said, would not be forced to evacuate during a Category 1 hurricane and could continue to provide service, whereas a south-island location would be subject to evacuation. '"For a number of reasons, we saw this as a great opportunity," he said. 'The purchase also halts the planned development of an auto service center on the property. The proposal had drawn criticism from some area residents concerned about the potential for noise and additional traffic. '"Regardless of the outcome of the police study, providing adequate quarters for law enforcement personnel has been a long, important goal of the town. I am glad we will be able to accomplish this and preclude unwanted commercial development at the same time," Mayor Tom Peeples stated in a news release. '"Stopping the auto garage is a nice added benefit for the community," Riley said. 'The purchase price will come out of the town's general fund. The town has now purchased 70 parcels totaling 917 acres for $85.5 million, according to town records. 'Staff writer Dave Hendricks can be reached at 706-8145 or email@example.com.