A Change in Plans

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The designs were unveiled for the first time to the public on October 23rd, 2003. Last week the Public Safety Committee held a public meeting on three architectural designs. But the committee was already pushing for one specific plan. Immediately after the meeting, a vote to accept the plan was taken to recommend the plan head to the full county board.

It was supposed to be as simple as “X”, “Y”, or “Z”. The Winnebago County Public safety committee was hoping the full county board would be able to vote on "Y" this week. But now it's “X”, “Y”, “Z”, and who knows what other design. A vote Monday night will layover a final decision this Thursday on the jail designs. Public Safety Committee Chairman Rick Pollack was the voice of reason Crime Commission chair Larry Morrissey was hoping for. Morrissey was offended at the lack of respect given to the community who voted to help fund the jail. Morrissey says, “ It doesn’t make any sense to not involve user groups. If you do that you have the opportunity to come up with a better design."

But now more public input could be costly. Ideas have been given to build higher instead of wider. But each floor is roughly costing $1.5 million dollars. Since no definite timeline has been set other than a complete date of Spring 2007, only architects are being inconvenienced now.

Within the next two weeks, several comprehensive meetings with top county officials including Morrissey's crime commission. Morrissey says, “If we don’t have these meetings now, we will have plenty of time to regret our decisions later.”

A decision that includes looking beyond the building and more at downtown Rockford development.