Howard County Jail Sold Via eBay

1 decade 1 year 3 months ago October 12, 2005 Oct 12, 2005 Wednesday, October 12 2005 Wednesday, October 12, 2005 9:50:34 PM CDT in News
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The Howard County Jail has existed longer than most people have been alive.  Inactive since last May, Howard County officials needed to find a way to preserve the historic building.

"Our commissioners were sympathetic to the idea of preserving this beautiful old building as part of the historic downtown Fayette area, on the national register, all those kinds of things, but the county simply didn't have the money to restore it," Jim Steele, President Elect of the Fayette Area Heritage Association said.

The solution was eBay.  After last week's deadline, Gary Kaplan, a Los Angeles lawyer, came up with the winning bid of $42,000.  Kaplan has a lot of work to do.  Parts of the building's wall has deteriorated so much that the original brick is showing.  The conditions of the jail are so poor that Kaplan will be forced to gut it out and remodel it completely.  County officials hope he'll turn part of it into a museum.

The renovation will cost at least an additional quarter of a million dollars.  County officials believe the creation of jobs to complete the project will benefit the area financially.

"That's money that's in the form of payroll and it's also money in the form of sales tax that goes back to the county," Howard County Clerk Mark Hill said.

Kaplan and the county could see more money if he leases the old lockup as a museum. 

According to the Howard County Clerk, Kaplan could start renovations by the end of the month.  Those renovations could take up to a year to complete.  Howard County built a new county jail last May directly next to the old one.  The county used a quarter cent sales tax to fund the $1.5 million project.

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