Construction plans are moving forward for the new Vigo County Jail, but one county official would like things to slow down. He says there is no urgency to have the jail built.
“I have not met one person who says, ‘hey that I.P. Property is a great location,” Brendan Kearns said.
County Councilman Brendan Kearns says he’s a community member first, a councilman second. He stands against the construction of a new jail at the international paper property for several reasons. One, he says the land was bought by the county for recreational use.
Despite that county commissioners have shown their support in building a new jail across from the Aquatic Center on Prarieton Road, by-passing several other locations.
“I question everything, so if someone tells me it can’t go at 13th and Hulman because of a potential chemical leak, I’m not stopping at that, I want proof.”
“The big issue they talk about is where Hydrite’s located. So here’s what I’ve been looking at, I’ve been looking at the site, and I look at this section that’s cleaned up and released right now. If the jail is built in this area, it is at a distance away from where Hydrite is. Something that people should look at is what that distance is and then move over here and see where is Sarah Scott Middle School?”
Kearns says the school isn’t the same distance away, but it’s still a concern that commissioners haven’t shown if a chemical leak is an issue. Another problem is of course, the $68 million cost.
He says the county could cut expenses by eliminating a medical wing and gym facility from the project. Still, county officials are looking into a tax income hike that could jump 1.25% to pay for the jail.
“We’re still paying on the jail they’re trying to get away from right now.”
Kearns says he cannot back the plans as they are now for the new jail, he’d like to only see a .25 income tax hike among other adjustments.
“You get this down to the 40-50 million dollar max range. You put it at 13th and Hulman, you’ve got my support at a .25. Until then, I’m not there.”>>
Kearns also tells me, that there was no deadline to have the jail plans set in stone. County officials simply wanted to have plans by a certain time. He also says in the lawsuits against the county, do not state that we have to build a new jail.