Committee studying three sites for potential jail
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Steven Riley, executive vice president of Prochaska & Associates, the architectural firm hired by the county to do a needs and feasibility study for a new jail, told county supervisors Tuesday that things are on target for a May or August vote.
“We’re getting close to having the committee make a recommendation,” Riley said. “March 17 would be the deadline for a recommendation for a May vote. The fallback is August which isn’t a bad thing.”
A citizens’ committee has met several times since being formed in November and is looking at three options, Riley said.
The first option is expansion of the current sheriff’s office/county jail facility. The second option would be building a new sheriff’s office/jail on county-owned land between the United States Department of Agriculture office and Young House. Thirdly, the group also is studying an eight-acre tract of land, which formerly housed the county home.
“We’re not pro or con on any of the options,” Riley said. “It is just whether the site is viable or not.”
Riley said that if the former county home site were picked, the building that was the county home would probably be converted into the sheriff’s office and a new structure built for a jail. The county home was built in 1975.
The Prochaska vice president said the county home site just surfaced recently as a possibility. “That’s a twist that hadn’t been thought of. You have to ask if that site is more viable than the area across the street.
Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee, Riley noted, would like to keep the jail at the current location.
Supervisors, however, wondered if there was enough space at the existing site. “Expansion there is going to be difficult,” said Gary See.
Asked what would happen to the current office/jail if a new site were chosen, Marc Lindeen, supervisor chairman, said that it would probably be used for storage.
Riley said cost figures will be released at the next citizens’ committee meeting “so you can start comparing.”