May 5, 2014 12:37 AM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck
A new jail in Jeff Davis Parish gets the green light to move forward. Residents on Saturday voted in favor of a half cents sales tax 72 percent to 28 percent, which will help with maintenance costs for the new jail. The parish already has $10 million in state funding to build the facility.
Parish officials said a new and larger jail has been long overdue. The current jail faces overcrowding issues and structural damage.
"Now that there are more crimes, more different type of crimes in Jeff Davis Parish, we need a bigger facility," said Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ivy Woods.
With the new jail, the parish will go from housing about 65 inmates, to a 200 hundred bed facility. The parish already has $1.8 million on hand to get the project started.
"Hopefully we've done all our homework, answered all the questions," said Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury President Donald Woods.
The parish has negotiated $272,320 for 17 acres of property. Now that the voters have pushed through the sales tax for jail maintenance, the next step is to move forward with construction. The parish has to comply with state requirements, which include appraising the land and completing an environmental study. The parish said it hopes to close on the property and secure the title within 150 days.
The new jail will be just west of the Highway 90 overpass in Jennings. Parish officials said, "The property is close to the parish courthouse, yet not situated in the middle of town, and it is in an industrial area, so there are no private residences nearby...It is the perfect site for a jail."
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