Caroline Dieterle, 3 May 2013 • Comments
Johnson County owns several houses opposite the current jail — 504, 510, 514 and 520 Capitol St., 7 Harrison St. and 4 Prentiss St.
Why aren’t those lots being used for a proposed new jail and courthouse expansion? They’re already off the tax rolls and cover a lot of ground: plenty of space to build on, and better than trying to paste a huge ugly new building onto the back of our historic courthouse.
An elevated walkway could connect the current jail to a new courthouse expansion facility across the street to provide space for more courtrooms and jail alternative programs. A smaller-sized, modern, high-security jail annex could be built there as well.
The repaired/rehabilitated old jail could still handle less dangerous inmates and serve as the sheriff’s office; the money spent on repairs and renovations for the current jail — which we’ve just been told are essential — would not be wasted.
What more modestly priced alternative plan using the Capitol, Harrison and Prentiss properties could the architects offer?
Vote “no” Tuesday, or earlier, and let’s see.