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Nothing settled as County Board discusses jail plans for first time

The Pierce County Board of Supervisors discussed the search for a new Jail for the first time Tuesday night during a 90-minute special meeting.

Nothing was settled or approved, and the consensus agreement is the search for a new site is far from being over.

“We are going to be earning our pay, folks,” said Board Chairman Jeff Holst telling his fellow Supervisors. “This decision will impact Pierce County for generations. We have to make the best decision for Pierce County in the long term.”

The meeting started with the Ad Hoc Jail committee chairman Jim Ross giving an overview of the committee which concluded in January. It was then turned over to Eric Lawson, President/CEO of Potter Lawson, the architect company hired by the County, who provided a review of the six selected sites on County-owned property for the jail and the advantages/disadvantages of both.

A quick summary:

* The Grove Street location, east of the Blue Building has positives of being close to the existing Courthouse and has public visibility. The negatives are it would have to be rezoned, it’s a confined site and the Blue Building would have to be relocated.

* If the PCOB parking lot was chosen, it would have to be a two-story building due to the location’s size (County officials prefer a single-story building). Other disadvantages include being the most confined site of the six, limited expansion and the existing parking lot would be displaced.

* The next property was located along State Highway 65, otherwise known as the Gas Main property. Due to an 80-foot easement for the main, options were divided into north and south of the line. The north’s negatives were the easement and site topography. The south had more advantages such as room for future expansion. Site access and topography would be hurdles.

* The property, northwest of Solid Waste, was next discussed. Roadway access was seen as the biggest hurdle with room for expansion and the site not being confined as positives.

* The final property was the forest. Negatives were site preparation costs, the reduction of the County forest, and a different utility provider than the other five sites. A positive was the site wasn’t confined.

On average, Lawson and Kurt Berner from The Samuels Group, a construction company that worked with Potter Lawson in projecting the estimates, told the Board construction costs would be from $10.3 to $12.7 million. Those figures are based off of 2014 dollar estimates.

For more please read the March 19 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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