Allen County Council approves purchase of new jail site
On Thursday, the Allen County Council agreed to allow the commissioners to purchase their preferred site for a new jail.
Last month, the commissioners settled on 2911 Meyer Road as the property for the new county correctional center. The property features 300,000 square-feet of existing structures and an additional 70 acres of undeveloped land.
After a federal court ordered Allen County to fix the living conditions and overcrowding problem at its current jail, the commissioners hired an architect to help them determine where the best location would be to build a new jail.
Members of the Help Not Handcuffs Coalition and others spoke against the proposal, urging them to perform “due diligence” regarding the financial commitment for the purchase of the property, and urging more community input.
Help Not Handcuffs would like to see the county focus on alternatives to incarceration as a means to address the issues raised in federal court, rather than building a new correctional facility.
The final purchase requires the average of two appraisals and getting approval from the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals for a contingent use property like a jail.
County officials say the price of the property is still being negotiated. Part of the purchase would be paid for by federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.
A hearing on the status of Allen County’s compliance with the federal court order is scheduled for Friday morning/today.
Thursday’s council decision on the property passed on a vote of 4-1, with Councilman and former Sheriff Ken Fries voting no, and Councilwoman Sheila Curry Campbell abstaining as it was her last meeting. Councilman Bob Armstrong was absent.