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Commission reviewing jail site proposals

We've heard a lot lately about the proposals involving two alternative sites for the new Wayne County Jail. With that in mind, I am providing an update on the selection process, including a background on each proposal and timeline of the jail issue.

Currently, the county is deciding whether to complete the already-started jail at Gratiot and I-375 or accept a developer's offer to build an entirely new jail, juvenile detention facility and court complex at an alternative site near the Chrysler Freeway Service Drive in return for $300 million, rights to the Gratiot/I-375 site and an unspecified credit from the county based on the cost savings the new facilities would provide. Both are county-owned sites.

County Executive Warren C. Evans last month announced this "two track" strategy, and presently, no decision has been made regarding either site. I can assure you, however, my colleagues and I on the commission will continue our due diligence reviewing each proposal and drawing a conclusion best suited for the taxpayers of Wayne County.

The county's selected bidder Walsh Construction, submitted a bid and is in the process of preparing a proposal to restart construction at the Gratiot/I-375 site. That report is expected in May.

While the county awaits the Walsh proposal, evaluation on the alternative proposal from Rock Ventures continues among the Wayne County Commissioners, the County Executive's office and nationally recognized experts in jail and court facilities.

Construction at the Gratiot/I-375 site began in 2011 but was halted less than two years later when the county's previous administration projected millions of dollars in cost overruns for the project. Though the partially-build jail remains unfinished, a study released in November indicated it was still structurally sound.

If you have any questions or concerns about either site, or the site selection process, please let me know.