Allen Co. Commissioners considering several properties for new jail location

(WPTA)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 12:28 PM EDT
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ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - The Allen County Board of Commissioners say they are considering several different properties to potentially build a new jail on after a proposed site on the southeast side received backlash from concerned community members.

Commissioner Nelson Peters said several possible locations for a new jail were brought into consideration in the past two weeks.

“As we work through the Allen County Jail conundrum, we have in front of us now what could be viewed as our eighth candidate for consideration. Some folks will say, ‘you’ve settled on the southeast location and so why are we even talking to you?’ The bottom line is no we haven’t, by any stretch of the imagination,” Commissioner Peters said.

During the meeting, commissioners brought in an expert with Elevatus Architecture, Cory Miller, who formally presented a rating system to help evaluate which property would best suit a new jail. He says the list of factors to consider includes property ownership, property size and zoning, site readiness, prior uses of the land, environmental impact, cost of utilities, and impacts on neighboring communities, among other things.

Miller says they have evaluated three of the proposed sites using that rating system so far. Exact site locations and final ratings of the sites were not discussed.

“We are so fortunate to find a company, an architect, that has national recognition for building jails. You can’t do much better than that,” Commissioner Richard Beck said.

Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court judge found in favor of the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit addressing myriad deficiencies at the Allen County Jail. His order demanded swift action by the sheriff and the county commissioners to address concerns that include overcrowding, staffing, and the treatment of inmates.

Then in July, the commissioners said expanding the current jail downtown was not an option. They suggested that a new jail be built on county-owned land at Paulding and Adams Center roads, as it would provide the space they need, but were met with backlash from constituents.

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