Talks to begin with mayor and council over new jail

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The debate over a new justice center has once again reignited.

Wednesday morning Mayor Joe Hogsett said his administration is working to come up with a plan to build a new jail and justice center.

“Jail one and jail two,” said Mayor Hogsett referring to the county’s two jails, “are woefully outdated and inadequate.”

Former Mayor Greg Ballard’s plan for the justice center failed in the final months of his administration. The city council refused to bring it up for a vote.

“Our job is the fiscal agent for the city,” said City-County Councilor Zach Adamson. “That’s what we’re supposed to look at, is make sure that things make fiscal sense, and the last plan did not.”

Adamson was chosen as vice president of the council after winning reelection. He said he understood the need, but the plan was wrong.

“The  problem was never really whether or not the need was there but whether or not we could afford a particular plan over another,” said Adamson.

Mayor Ballard’s ambitious plan was to build a $1.75 billion complex at the former GM stamping plant. The plan would’ve combined the county’s jails, courts, and associated agencies into one building, and would’ve moved them just west of downtown.

The plan was scoffed at by the council because of the cost.

But Mayor Hogsett said he’s working toward a viable plan.

“We’re going to have to have a serious discussion about building a new jail, what shape that takes, I need to talk to all the stakeholders . I’m not going to waste time doing that because the need is critical,” said Mayor Hogsett.

There’s no plan on paper yet for a new jail. One of the major hurdles the mayor and council will face is where to build it. REI Investments, the owners of the GM lot put it back on the market over the summer.

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