Jail plans taking shape as Commission diligently reviews best remaining options
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has announced his administration will enter into negotiations with developer Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures on a new site for the proposed Wayne County Jail as well as a new county court building and juvenile detention center.
If negotiations are successful, Wayne County will turn over the unfinished jail site at Gratiot Avenue and I-375 and several other county-owned properties to Rock Ventures which will develop the Gratiot site into an entertainment complex that could include a new soccer stadium as well as other features.
In return, the county would receive a completely new jail, courthouse and juvenile detention center built several miles to the north of the uncompleted Gratiot jail site. The value of the Rock Ventures offer has been estimated at more than $520 million. Despite the announcement, the county is continuing its "two track" plan regarding the Gratiot site.
Even though the Rock Ventures proposal is now the county executive's preferred proposal, an alternative proposal by Walsh Construction to complete the unfinished jail remains on the table. The Walsh plan would move forward if an agreement cannot be reached with Rock Ventures.
The county executive's announcement represents a major step forward in the long-delayed jail project, but there are two important things to remember:
- It isn't a final decision. A possibility remains that the new jail could still be built on the Gratiot site.
- The Wayne County Commission must give final approval on any jail site proposal. I want to assure you that my fellow commissioners and I will intensely examine any proposal that comes before us.
With that in mind, I encourage anyone with questions or comments about either proposal to contact me by phone at (313) 224-0942, by email at iclark@ waynecounty.com or by writing to: Wayne County Commissioner Irma Clark-Coleman, 500 Griswold, 7th Floor, Detroit, MI 48226.
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