Editorial: Should Dunn Hosptial Property be considered location for contructing new jail facility?
BEDFORD - JANUARY 21,2023 - Lawrence County officials are looking to build a $58 Million correctional facility with the preferable location on Beech Street in Bedford.
The price tag of $58 Million comes following the payoff of a 19-year bond that will be required for the construction. The actual construction costs of the correctional facility are estimated at $35 Million.
County officials plan to issue a correctional facility tax and increase the current Local Income Tax to fund the proposed project.
The current Lawrence County Jail was built in 1990
There was a total of five locations that was considered at in trying to determine the best location for a new correctional facility.
The preferred location was determined to be the Beech Street site that will allow the construction of the new jail, and to eventually move the other legal departments such as the Prosecutors Office, Superior Courts, Public defender's office and Probation Department to the property along Beech Street.
1. Proposed Jail
2. Future expansion of jail
3. Sally port
4. Secured Parking
6. Proposed surface parking
7. Future Justice Campus - Courts building, Community Corrections, Probation
8. Communication and Office
9. Storm water retention
10. Overhead Utilities
Many want the current jail moved off the public square.
There are a couple reasons why the Beech Street location is not a very good choice.
Moving a correctional facility into the residential and business district is not a very good choice, especially when the location could be used for future apartment buildings and retail establishments. There are a lot of more viable options than moving the new jail facility here.
The construction of the facility would not conform to the area to which the area is designed.
Property taxes are currently being paid at the Beech Street site, should the county purchase the location the property becomes exempt. If a retailer, apartment complex or other use of the property would bring in more tax revenue both for the City of Bedford and the county.
Bedford City Council member Brad Bough who represents the district says he is opposed to jail being constructed at the Beech Street location due to close proximity of a playground and other children who live and play in the area.
There are a few reasons why the Dunn Hospital location may need to be considered for the project.
Dunn Hospital parcel is approximately three acres
The reasons why the Dunn Hospital location may now be a consideration is for the following reasons:
There are no property taxes being paid at this location.
There are approximately three acres verses the .383 acres the current jail sits on
There is plenty of room to place the Prosecutor's office, Superior Court system, public defender's office, and probation department, at the current location or at the Dunn Plaza which currently exempt from property taxes.
The construction of the facility will conform to the surroundings and would not be as intrusive to the public like the Beech Street location.
The hospital will probably have to be demolished to make way for the new construction.
The discussions for the new jail continue as many county elected officials now believe the time for a new jail has come. The cost of renovating the current jail facility is between $8 - $10 Million.
*It should be noted that neither the Lawrence County Commissioners or Lawrence County Council have voted to build the jail, there are only discussions underway.
For breaking news, news and information go to lczephyr.org or like/follow us on Facebook.