Wayne County suspends new jail construction for 60 days

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    DETROIT —Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano notified the Wayne County Commission that work on the new under-construction Wayne County Jail will be halted for at least 60 days, WDIV, Channel 4 Detroit reports.
    MLive was unable to reach Ficano’s office for immediate comment late Thursday.

    Media reports this week revealed that Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert was in talks with the county about potentially purchasing the over-budget jail.

    The Detroit News reported that about $100 million has been spent so far on the $200 million project. The original $200 million price tag is forecast to increase between $65 million and $100 million, based on revised estimates and Wayne County.

    The construction was approved by the Wayne County Commission in 2010. Initial plans included nearly 2,200 beds, which would have allowed the consolidation of the county’s three jails, but the project was scaled down to 2,000 beds due to unforeseen costs.

    Based on the flawed original projections, the project would have saved taxpayers $26 million per year in efficiencies.

    There has been discussion of utilizing the empty state-owned Mound Correctional Facility for county inmates.

    “I agreed in 2010 to a facility that would address my officers’ safety, inmate population needs and cut operational costs dramatically,” Sheriff Napoleon said this week. “What has transpired is unacceptable as none of the aforementioned goals will be met by the facility presently under construction. If terminating the construction of the new jail project will eliminate cost overruns and moving to Mound or any other location is in the taxpayers’ best interests I will support that—as long as the facility has critical technology and security systems and does not compromise public safety.”

    The jail is being built across from the Wayne County Circuit Court Frank Murphy Hall of Justice Building at Madison and St. Antoine in downtown Detroit.

    Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon has previously criticized construction delays and said this week that if plans have changed, “county officials need to move quickly and decisively to curtail current construction costs.”

     

     

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