Neighbor says proposed jail could be "death sentence" for nearby school

4 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago Tuesday, May 07 2019 May 7, 2019 Tuesday, May 07, 2019 2:16:00 PM CDT May 07, 2019 in News
By: Alex Arger, KOMU 8 Reporter
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CALLAWAY COUNTY - More people are speaking out against a proposed jail near the Missouri School for the Deaf.

"The county would put a jail on the site of the Missouri River, which would essentially be a death sentence for the Missouri School of the Deaf," nearby resident Anthony Cavaiani said. 

Cavaiani said he has tried to contact lawmakers who support the jail and "every member of the general laws committee," but hasn't heard back. He hopes the land is out of the running when choosing where the new jail should go.

"I consider myself a well-educated person, and I know there are effects that this bill could have on citizens of the area," Cavaiani said.

The first Senate public hearing was held for HB 1237 on Tuesday. It authorizes conveyance of certain state property, meaning the governor could sell, transfer and release some property.

One property in the mix is Rice Hall, which was once used as a middle school but is now vacant after a decrease in enrollment. 

A House authorization has driven concern in the deaf community and in those living nearby. Now the bill's sponsor, Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, said it seems certain the jail would not come to the area.

"That's an issue that stirred up our community, and I don't think a jail will ever be at that property in my opinion," Fitzwater said.

Even if HB 1237 fails, however, the proposal will not be completely dead.

Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, has another bill on the table, SB 470. It is designed specifically to convey the site of the proposed jail in Callaway County.

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