Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 17, 2018

A home found for the jail?

County may acquire land near Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility
Oct 11, 2017
Photo by: Brooks Taylor The area pictured, located northwest of the tennis court at the rear of the former Mt. Pleasant Mental Health Institute, may be the location of the new county law enforcement center/jail. The Iowa Department of Corrections Board of Directors reportedly has unanimously approved the transfer of a 6.2-acre tract of land to Henry County. The paved road closest to the top of the photo is Grand Avenue.

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County may have received some very good news Friday — the county may have a site for its new law enforcement center/jail. The emphasis is on “may” in the preceding sentence because nothing is official yet.

Supervisor Greg Moeller reported at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting that he received a call Friday from Mike Savala, legal counsel for the Iowa Department of Corrections Board of Directors, notifying him that the board voted unanimously earlier in the day to convert a 6.2-acre tract of ground on the campus of the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Institute to the county.

Moeller cautioned, however, that until he sees the minutes from the board meeting of the Department of Corrections that the news is unofficial. He said he hopes to have the minutes this week.

“I’m waiting for the minutes,” Moeller said. “We don’t legally have it now, and I don’t want to get the cart in front of the horse.”

Supervisors have long coveted land near the prison for the law center/jail because other sites considered for the complex all had accompanying challenges.

Supervisor Gary See said at a recent board meeing a site near the prison was his favorite option.

However, the county didn’t know until recently that some land on the prison campus might be available or when it would be available.

Moller said he was not told and did not ask if there were any finanical considerations for the land.

After learning of the decision, Moeller contacted John Hansen of Midwest Construction Consultants, and Hansen sent requests for proposals to surveyors and civil engineers to suvey the property because a legal description is needed for a transfer of deed.

“They (department of corrections board members) were impressed that there would be an opportunity to potentially share some services, such as food service and roads, with the county,” Moeller noted.

The supervisor said no timeline has been established for acquisition of the land, but he is hoping it is a done deal by the middle of November.

Supervisors will review prospective jail sites and make a decision soon, they said.

Other agenda items had the supervisors signing a 2017-18 snowmobile trail agreement with the Southeast Iowa Ridgeblasters.

Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss gave his weekly report to supervisors. He said Iowa Bridge & Cuvert of Washington began work this week on constructing two culverts on Nebraska Avenue. The firm hoped to pour part of the footing on one of the culverts Tuesday afternoon but heavy rain yesterday morning likely washed away those plans.

County crew have completed two miles of shoulder pull work on Agency Road but will not work on the project again until next week.

Work by the secondary roads department last week in addition to the shoulder pull project included bump grinding on Oakland Mills Road; completing several small seeding projects; hauling resurfacing rock to Baltimore Township; and hauling spot rock where needed.

Gary Ruth was awarded a two-year contract for snow removal at the county’s four office properties. He will be paid $75 per lot for removal and $100 for sanding. Ruth had the contract the past two years.

Supervisors meet again in regular session tomorrow (Thurs.) at 9 a.m. in the Henry County Courthouse.

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