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Candidates for mayor have different visions for jail project

One of the most contentious topics right now is the future of the Vigo county jail. Many people are divided on the issue so it should be no surprise the candidates for mayor are, too.

Posted: Dec 3, 2018 10:31 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2019 1:50 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Candidates and the public are weighing in on where they think a new Vigo county jail should go.

Pat Goodwin and Karrum Nasser have thrown their hats in the ring to be the next Terre Haute mayor.

One of the most contentious topics right now is the future of the Vigo County jail. Many people are divided on the issue so it should be no surprise these candidates are, too.

City leaders will soon decide if a new jail will go on the former International Paper property along Prairieton Road.

Democrat Karrum Nasser will get a vote in rezoning the property from his seat on the city council.

Nasser says, "I am currently in favor of the petitioner’s request to zone it there but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm for a jail and against Riverscape development. I just believe that we can do both."

Independent candidate Pat Goodwin is a member of the Riverscape board. The group has been working to develop land along the Wabash River.

Goodwin hosted a community forum to talk about other possible locations for a new jail Monday night. He says he is not in favor of using the ip property for the jail project.

Goodwin says, "The Riverscape property, the property along Prairieton Road has tremendous future potential for recreation, for tax base increase, for development and I think we need to preserve it for that use."

The county already owns the former International Paper property and a local developer announced plans to use private dollars to build an outdoor pavilion in that area, even with a jail for a neighbor.

Nasser argues the property is far enough away from the riverfront it would not harm future development in the area.

Nasser says, "Standing at the far end of it you still can't see the river. In fact, there are two sewage lagoons that makeup property that go from the IP location to the river."

County commissioners say the current jail location is not big enough for what is needed but Goodwin says there is enough room where the jail sits now and that's his first pick.

Goodwin says, "As I've researched around the state what I've found is that there are several jails the size of ours and much larger that are built on parcels even smaller than the government complex here in Terre Haute."

The Terre Haute City Council will discuss rezoning the former International Paper property for a new jail at a meeting Thursday.

You can find out more about the jail project at the Area Planning meeting on Wednesday night.

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