CLINTON - The Clinton County Jail Selection Committee has voted to recommend building a new jail at the current site.

The jail selection committee and members of the public heard a presentation from representatives of Shive Hattery, an architechture and engineering firm that was responsible for rating four possible sites that were chosen from a initial roster of 15. Those four remaining sites are near the Clinton County Courthouse (the current site), Mill Creek Parkway and Harts Mill Road, Mill Creek Parkway and 13th Avenue North and at 19th Avenue Northwest.

Among the factors they looked at were the efficiency and effectiveness of each site, how well they circulate, the adequacy of parking, the potential to build a good building identity, expansion potential and flexibility of site. There were 12 categories they rated from one to 10 and then added the number from each category to give each site a total score.

Before giving the selection committee their findings, they told them that these are the opinions of Shive Hattery and they would have to make the decision based on what they think the best location is for the county. After saying this, they went through each site and explained why each site got the score it did. Their findings showed that the current site next to the courthouse was the best location for the new jail. The courthouse got a final score of 94, which was 20 points higher than the second-best option, which, according to Shive Hattery, was 19th Avenue Northwest. The other three sites finished within 10 points of each other. 

Despite scoring so high in their study, the representatives of Shive Hattery did admit there still are some concerns about the site. One of the main concerns was with parking. Michael Lewis of Shive Hattery said the major concern would be with the limited amount of parking during construction, saying they would need to formulate a plan for additional parking.

“I personally believe that it (the parking issue) would be during construction,” Lewis said. “Because the existing building after the new building is built could be removed and then we would have adequate parking. We just have to get through that period.”

Sheriff Rick Lincoln said he and Lt. Craig Eberhardt have discussed possible options for additional parking or even getting a shuttle bus as a temporary solution during construction.

One of the main reasons Shive Hattery recommended this site was the cost effectiveness in the long term. With the other three sites, there would be transportation costs. If the jail were to be built at the recommended site, there would be fewer expenses in the long term. 

After holding discussion on the four sites, the selection committee voted on a motion to recommend the courthouse site to the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission as the preferred site. The motion was approved.

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