TERRE HAUTE, IN (WTWO/WAWV) – After years of debating, months of planning and countless hours of deliberation, Vigo County Commissioners have decided on a new home for the jail. But the location is not a done deal yet.
“Nobody got what they wanted,” Commissioner Brad Anderson said. “We still like the old place we wanted to put it, but we didn’t get that done, and so looking to purchase properties, we had to do this.”
“The location’s fine,” Sheriff John Plasse said. “I’m just glad that we’ve made that next step to get the jail finally built.”
The former Stu’s Golf Driving Range was one of three locations surveyed for the new jail, and in the end, commissioners felt the site behind Honey Creek Mall and AMC Theaters would be the best option.
“The price was good,” Anderson said. “The utilities were all very close. The infrastructure’s there. You can shoot up right through 1st Street now since we got the road all fixed up.”
The county wants to buy 22.2 acres of land for more than $510,000. When constructed, the jail will rest on 17 acres of the land.
Currently, there are more than 300 prisoners in the Vigo County Jail, with an average of 63 transported to court each day.
Sheriff Plasse said the location is farther from the courthouse, which will required the additional cost of purchasing three vans for a total of $100,000.
“This 500-bed jail will be at that capacity sooner rather than later,” Plasse said. “I wish there was a magic pill to stop people from coming here, but it’s just not there.”
Once the new location is built, the jail at the government complex will continue to house 911. It will also provide holding cells for those going to court.
The rest of the facility will be used for storage.
Here’s what going to happen next.
A public hearing will be held at the Vigo County Annex on May 8.
Then the recommendation will go to county council on May 14 for a vote.
The commissioners must report a location to the federal judge by May 8, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
However, because the location is within Terre Haute City limits, rezoning the property will have to be approved by the city council.
If the location it is not approved by the council, it could be back to square one.