Group to discuss replacing county jail; grant application plannedWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lucas County Commissioners, in collaboration with the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, plan to submit a grant application requesting funds for a feasibility study on replacing the Lucas County Correctional Center.
The Lucas County Correctional Center, which was built in 1977, is “operationally obsolete and does not provide an optimal environment for inmates nor corrections officers,” according to a resolution requesting authorization to submit the grant.
The resolution was unanimously approved by the commissioners at their Feb. 26 meeting.
“The building does not meet today’s efficiency standards, requiring significantly more personnel than facilities of comparable size,” the resolution read. “Additionally, the physical plant has reached its usable life. There are several costly capital projects which will require attention in the short term to maintain the facility. For these reasons, it is essential that the feasibility of replacing the current correctional facility be considered.”
The Ohio Department of Development’s Local Government Innovation Fund offers grants up to $100,000 toward such studies, placing an emphasis on projects that are collaborative and involve shared services, said Megan Vahey Casiere, chief of planning and development at the Board of Lucas County Commissioners.
Casiere said the application will request a specific amount, but declined to specify, saying the number is still being finalized. The application is due March 4.
The commissioners are collecting letters and resolutions of support from area partners to include with the grant application. Among the partners are a number of other local agencies and entities, including local municipalities and townships, judges, the courts, mental health agencies, the University of Toledo and others, Casiere said.
An executive committee made of members from the partner organizations has met and members will begin to study the feasibility of building a new facility versus refurbishing or repurposing the existing building, Casiere said.
“No one wants to make a decision in a vacuum, which is why we’re looking for the hard data,” Casiere said.
The group hopes to have the study completed within six months.
“There is a real sense of momentum on this issue,” Casiere said.
The feasibility study will move forward with or without the grant, she said.
“Everyone agrees this is something we need to look at now,” Casiere said. “[Receiving the grant] would be a great addition to our process. Certainly that would make things easier for us. It would be wonderful to take advantage of the available state funds, which is what it’s there for.”
According to Lucas County’s website, the Lucas County Corrections Center is a full-service adult detention facility, with the majority of the inmates being held on serious felony charges. The nine-story building, located in Downtown Toledo, includes six inmate housing floors with a recommended capacity of 346 inmates.