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New Starke County Jail nears final approval

Updated: January 3, 2013 6:15AM



The Starke County Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 to purchase a 10-acre site at the intersection of Indiana 8 and County Road 550E, east of Knox, where the county will build a new jail.

The current jail, built in the 1970s, is the second oldest jail in the state. It is located in downtown Knox, just east of the County Courthouse.

Though the County Council must still approve a resolution to build the approximately $12 million jail, the council is expected to vote pass the measure at its meeting on Monday.

Construction is expected to begin in late winter or early spring start and take approximately 15-18 months. The county will pay approximately $550,000 for the property.

The commissioners, who went through a lengthy evaluation process, which included tours of other Indiana jails, a trip to a Colorado jail symposium, jail committee meetings and three public hearings, decided the so-called Bailey property best suited the needs of the county.

The property already has access to sewer and water, and includes a 10,000-square-foot building, which was originally part of the former General Woodworkers manufacturing facilities.

The building would be renovated for Sheriff’s Department offices and be added onto for emergency dispatch services. There is also room for a possible courtroom to be added later.

The preliminary plans for the jail, which would be connected to the Bailey building, include approximately 20,000 square feet with 108 beds, and an option of adding an additional 32 beds if necessary.

Last week, a commissioners meeting saw a large crowd of mostly residents of the area express concerns about public safety, traffic and decreasing property values, some of which the commissioners addressed before making their decision.



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