VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Vigo County Commissioners shared early this week two possible jail locations are on the table right now for a new Vigo County Jail. One of those sites has community members saying they're shocked it is in the running.
We’re talking about the former International Paper Property in Terre Haute. The other possible site is south of Terre Haute at the Vigo County Industrial Park. People were upset the last time this property was an option.
You wanted answers from Commissioners about why they're looking at this spot again. News 10 spoke to Vigo County Commissioner President, Judy Anderson. She says, “I have always said, this is where it should be."
Many spoke up at Tuesday morning's Commissioner's meeting. Concerns ranged from county leaders not being up-front with the community, to bringing down the feel of the city's river-front.
Anderson shared, "This property is not adjacent to the river. You can't even see the river from this property. And behind this property is the city's stormwater system."
Some people said they didn't want a jail so close to the Vigo County School Corporation Aquatic Center. To that, Anderson said, "Where we're proposing the jail, is not across from the Aquatic Center, our jail and entrances and all that would be more north of that, on the far north end of the property."
Anderson said up to this point, no one has offered to buy the land from the county to develop it. As far as ruining the chances of somebody wanting to build near a jail, Anderson said she's not worried. She said there's already interest in building a public gathering space next to where a jail would be.
Anderson said, "There are people that will buy that property and utilize it. There's communities that have built the boys and girls club next to the jail there's people in other communities that have built high schools and football stadiums right next to the jail after the jail was already there."
Anderson said overall, she feels confident in where the Commissioners are leaning. She said, "When it comes down to a final plan, I think we're making the right decisions, and we've had the best input from everybody."
Last time around commissioners thought they'd have to re-zone the international paper property for the jail. But at their meeting Tuesday morning they shared that isn't the case.
The Commissioners should have a completed jail study by next week. The county has until October 15th to get a jail project timeline to the federal courts.
However, the clock will continue to tick on the project, as the price tag goes higher. Anderson says, "We're trying to figure out how to get the most, for the less, you know, as little as possible. That's the biggest goal that we have."
Commissioners told News 10 since early estimates, construction costs have already gone up by four million dollars. They said that interest rates to finance the project have gone up too.