Jefferson City Debates Jail Plan

9 years 11 months 20 hours ago March 29, 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 7:28:52 PM CDT in News
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City officials said moving the jail is a must, because it's crowded and unsafe, but that proposed move worries some local businesses.

"Everything is centered down here, so it makes sense to have the jail down here," said Colleen Taylor, vice president of the Downtown Business Association.

Taylor wants to preserve the downtown core, including the nearby Cole County Jail. She worries relocating the jail would hurt a revitalized business district.

"It's premature to even get really excited about whether it's going to be downtown or not," responded the jail advisory committee's Steve Waters, "because the committees were sent to do research, and they bring their research back and that's the phase we're in right now."

And, Waters continued, the advisory committee believes there's more to consider.

"You have to have a balance, I think, between the law enforcement and the economics. Ideally, there would be a perimeter fence, the cost would be a lot less," he said. "I mean, there's a lot of things involved with having the jail outside the heart of the city. We understand this isn't all about economic development, and what we want the committee to understand is that, if it's not their job to worry about the economic development, then whose is it?"

The advisory group held its regularly-scheduled meeting Monday night. City officials said there won't be a decision until they hold a public forum when the group will narrow its list of possible jail locations.

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