Taxpayers could pay $900,000 for construction inside the Jacksonville Pre-Trial Detention Facility, despite the mayor’s plan to someday move the jail out of downtown.
The city needs to bring the jail into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Six years ago, the city reached a settlement with the federal government because its jail was not accessible to people with mobility disabilities.
This week, Council President Aaron Bowman introduced a bill at the request of Mayor Lenny Curry to fund fixing those problems.
Jacksonville resident Janet Hughes said the waterfront property is too valuable for inmates.
“I feel like they shouldn’t have a million-dollar view,” said Hughes. “Maybe something could go there that would be very beneficial to downtown Jacksonville.”
Since December, Action News Jax has been reporting that Curry feels the same way.
“As we approach these next four years, moving the jail out of downtown is one of my goals,” said Curry.
However, he confirmed to Action News Jax on Friday that there is no timeline.
“Right now, we are goal-setting and strategizing,” said Curry.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice found the jail’s cells, toilets and showers were not handicapped-accessible.
The planned construction will include 31 cells and 24 showers on seven floors.
It won’t be easy.
Only one floor can be under construction at a time, and the contractor will need to avoid conflict between construction crews and inmates.
Action News Jax sent the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office three interview requests about the jail construction since Wednesday, but we have not gotten a response.
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